Been meaning to make this banana bread chocolate chunk cookie recipe ever since my FB friend Carol-in-Omaha posted it right before the holidays. She'd won first place in a baking contest for them. Then I gave the recipe to my dear friend-and-college-roomie Angie when she needed a recipe that utilized bananas because she had a bumper crop of them in her freezer, so I sent it to her. The next day she told me that she and her daughter ended up eating a quite a bit of the batter because it was just so darn good.
I finally had enough overripe bananas so I went ahead and tried them.
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2-3) 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups quick or old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 375° degrees F.
In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add brown sugar and then beat additional 2 minutes. Beat in banana, eggs and vanilla, just until combined.
Stir in flour mixture.
Stir in oats, nuts (if desired-I excluded them) and chocolate chunks.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for one minute before moving to wire rack to cool completely.
I got about 63 cookies, and I also used walnuts instead of pecans. Also, I put the blobs of dough on the baking sheet and they stayed that way. My first dozen were overdone because I had to mash them down and leave them in a little longer because they never spread out on their own.
My friend Kim posted that on Facebook and memories of the San Rafael apartment came flooding back. Brian & I lived there for a year...from August 1993 to August 1994 when we bought the townhouse in Fairfax. The move to San Rafael came about quickly. As much as I loved San Francisco, I had been living there for four years and I was starting to feel claustrophobic. We started kicking around the idea of moving north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, where we found ourselves spending more and more time on the weekends. There was fairly decent public transportation in Golden Gate Transit, so I could continue to work at my paralegal job in the financial district of SF. Brian ended up getting a job up near Santa Rosa that summer of 1993, so it seemed logical to move to San Rafael. We found an apartment in no time, in what looked like a lovely residential neighbourhood, near Hwy 101. It was within walking distance of the Transit Center so I could get my bus to and from The City.
Oh...before I go further, a quick word on San Rafael. It's pronounced 'San ra-FELL', not 'San ra-FAY-ell'
The apartment was in a fairly large house-like building, that had 2 or 3 small apartments downstairs, then the 2 upstairs. We were renting the upstairs apartment on the left in this picture. The livingroom window is on the far left.
It was like a railroad flat in that there was a hallway that went from the front door straight back to the master bedroom in the back, and all the rooms were off on the left side of the hall. This is looking from the front door, down into the kitchen area, where the hall took a short turn to the left before continuing past the bathroom and into the master bedroom.
It was a 2 bedroom place, with a fireplace in the livingroom and a spacious kitchen, and a very bright master bedroom. It seemed perfect. The rent wasn't too bad and we were allowed to have our guinea pig.
While we viewed it on a cool evening after work in July, we moved in on a very, very hot day in August. It was then that we realized how hot that apartment was going to be, because it had no a/c nor the windows that would accommodate window units. And the bedroom? Holy shit. It had windows facing south and west so by 7:00 p.m., the temps topped 100*.
Looking at the back of the apartment; there was a door that led into the bedroom from a little teeny deck.
We toughed it out for a couple of days and caved in and went to a hotel nearby for a couple of nights just to have a/c. We bought a bunch of fans but all they did was blow hot air around.
Things went downhill from there on so many levels. It turned out that, although the 'hood looked very pretty and quaint, there was a lot of weird stuff and a lot of weird people on it. It may be because it was literally right off the Highway. See how pretty? Looks can be deceiving.
There were people living in campers and vans parked alongside the curb. Our neighbours were awful. We were told no pets were allowed, yet the person below us had a dog that she put outside at night, under our window, that barked nonstop. The woman nextdoor was mentally ill and would stand outside our door and ramble on and on through the screen door. We were trapped in the livingroom, unable to move or else have to see her, because of the way the place was laid out. Yet if we kept the door shut it was so hot. One early Sat. morning I left to go grocery shopping and saw a downstairs neighbour's car had been badly vandalized with racial slurs directed at African Americans, although the owner was white. I had to wake the poor kid up to let him know so he could get the cops there, and then watch him have a meltdown of swearing and yelling in the front of the building. It was a nice old car too, from the 60s with the suicide back doors. And it was covered in deep scratches with slurs and swastikas.
As fall drew into winter, I started to get a really weird and sinister feeling being there. I had turned the bedroom next to the livingroom, off the hall, into what I thought would be a cool place to do my crafts, or read. The window had a great little seat below it, large closet, hardwood floors. I decorated it and put our desk and computer in there along with the bookshelves.
After it was all set up, I hated being in that room. I didn't like it at all, and I avoided going in as much as possible, even in the day. If I wanted to do crafts, I hauled everything into the livingroom. But it didn't really matter because that was the year I suffered a crushing artistic block. I would take my stuff out and stare at it, and put it away, totally uninspired. Any time I tried to force myself to make jewelry, the results were awful. I thought I'd never bead again. I tried to sage the house from time to time, trying to cleanse and purify the place, but it didn't work.
I began to feel despair. I kept thinking awful thoughts....irrational thoughts...that my parents were going to die any day, that Brian was going to die any day. I got really clingy with him. I couldn't stop the paranoia. It wouldn't go away. It was so over the top. Not a 'gee I hope he has a safe commute', but actually living out the dreaded visit by the officers to tell you your spouse has been killed in a fiery crash. Or the call from MA that my dad was dead. I'd practically pee myself with relief when Brian got home. Meanwhile, he underwent a personality change too, and became a flaming, sarcastic asshole who put me down and put down my fears and scoffed at them. He was working at a place in Cotati as a Hydronic Engineer, doing computer assisted drawing. He was so incredibly and obnoxiously proud of his job that he was extremely conceited and condescending. He was definitely not himself at all, and neither was I. When he was fired a year later, without explanation, I wondered if he was as obnoxious at work as he was at home, which definitely would not have gone over well with the owners and his coworkers.
Then the fleeting shadows started. The kitchen was large, and as you came down the hall towards it, there were shelves that opened from the hall side to the kitchen with a counter/shelves underneath. So when you were standing at the sink or stove, the person coming down the hall would see you to their left, and conversely you'd see them to your left. Well, I started seeing something there. I would look up expecting to see Brian headed in to grab a drink or something to eat, or peering at me through the shelves.
But when I looked up, there was nothing there. This happened a lot. There was one time that I leapt into the hall and said 'AHA!' expecting Brian to be just out of site against the wall messing with me, only to see an empty hallway. I walked down to the livingroom and he's sitting in the chair watching TV. I said, "Were you just messing with me in the kitchen? How did you get back here so fast without me hearing you?" He looked up bewildered and asked what the hell I was talking about. I told him what was going on and he thought I was nuts, but he agreed that he didn't feel comfortable in there at all and wished we hadn't moved in. We were stuck for a year.
Part of the problem was that livingroom being the first room off the front door. Once you were in there, if someone came to the door and you didn't want to answer it, you were literally trapped till the person went away, because there were long side light windows on either side of the door. Due to the window behind my couch, you could see the top of my head from the steps, so we always had to keep the drapes closed.
Then there were the dreams that started a few months in as well. More like nightmares. Recurring ones over and over; almost every single night it was a slightly different version of the same dream. Trapped in the apartment, abject terror at what was out on the street which usually seemed to be gunmen that would shoot me if I went out there, or someone would try to chase me. Sometimes I'd see my coworkers on the street and try to scream to them to run and get away but I couldn't get out a sound. Then the inevitable point in the dream when they stormed through the front door and chased me down the hall into the bedroom where I was trapped and screaming. Every. Night. For almost a year.
At one point, in May of 1994, I was on a three week disability leave from work because I was having carpal tunnel issues and I was reluctant to have surgery so it was agreed that I'd take a significant break from work to heal and go to physical therapy every other day. It was in downtown San Francisco and I was more than happy to take the bus in, if it got me out of that wretched apartment for a few hours. Being in there alone on a sick day really sucked. Since it was my arms that hurt and not my legs, I spent the bulk of my disability leave walking around San Rafael and a couple of times I took the Larkspur Ferry into SF. Brian let me have the car a few times, too, since he could use the company truck, so I drove out to the Mt. Tam watershed to go hiking, and I also went antiquing in Sonoma. I did whatever I could to stay out of there.
When June rolled around, we started looking for something else. The schizophrenic next door neighbour was pounding on our door almost nonstop with wild, psychotic stories. When she wasn't bugging us I could hear her in her apartment screaming and crying. Her parents had her committed to the state hospital in Napa, but she checked herself out and came back by cab. We viewed a few properties that were for sale and decided to buy a small townhouse out in Fairfax. We gave our notice to the landlord, closed on the property in July of 1994 and moved out almost one year to the day that we moved in. In an odd twist of fate, I have moved on or around August 14 on many occasions. The property management company gave us a ration of shit, saying that we left the place filthy with rust marks on the carpet from the legs of the bed. They refused to give us our security deposit back unless we paid to have the rugs cleaned, and then the landlord gave us a bill for paint. Luckily I had thought to take photos of the place after we cleaned and moved out so I told the property manager to fuck off b/c I had proof the place was spotless and oh by the way, the bottoms of the bed legs had plastic discs on them. What a fiasco.
It should be noted that I got the willies and kind of mentally uncomfortable looking at the photos in that photo album, from which I posted the ones, above. There were many more of the inside of the apartment but I only used a few because they brought back too many bad memories.
I've often wondered about what the history of that place was. It had an awful lot of bad energy attached to it. When Brian & I moved to Fairfax, I stopped having that all consuming paranoia and fear, and he returned to his good natured self (for awhile till things started to collapse a few years later). I told him about his personality change in San Rafael and he said that he really had no memory of acting that way, but he did think that place messed with his head, and the scientist in him could not figure it out. I know it messed with mine. The bad dreams stopped immediately upon moving to Fairfax. It's a place that I'd like to forget, but I can't.
The Pinstrosity Blog is hosting a challenge, to celebrate their first anniversary. From January 19 through February 19, we're encouraged to make and post Pinterest projects, whether they are Wins or Fails. There are some prizes available for winners, and you can enter as many as you want.
Here's a Pinterest project for wands using chopsticks and hot glue. The instructions mentioned using beads stuck in the glue, and then when the glue was cool and dry, paint over all of it for texture. I just couldn't bring myself to paint over the beads. This is what the wands looked like prior to painting. I also decided to put some fluorite crystal points on the tops. You basically just dribble hot glue all over the top of the chopstick and when it cools down a little bit, you can shape it a little bit with your hands.
Here are the wands after the paint was dry. I admit, I'm pretty impressed with how fast and easy they were to make, even using my nemesis: hot glue.
I'll have to get more chopsticks because I have so many ideas!
Hi. My name is Joanne....and I'm addicted to craft supplies.
They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have an unquenchable thirst for craft supplies of all kinds, I freely admit that. Sometimes I buy stuff and decide to figure out how to use it later. I had some birthday and Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket and decided to hit Michael's one day. I didn't spend as much as I thought I would, but they also didn't have a few things on my list.
But.....the problem is....that I have boxes and boxes and baggies full of supplies. Full of them. I could open my own supply store. Back when I used to get a generous Christmas bonus, I'd spend most of it at Ben Franklin, Shipwreck Beads, Michael's, tons of online places & other catalogs. I figured I should get the stuff while I saw it, just in case I didn't get the opportunity to do so in the future. Ribbon. Fabric fat quarters. Lampshade frames. Stickers. Rhinestones. Altered art items.
Boxes full of crayons, punches, different kinds of scissors with patterned blades, paint, rubber stamps, seed beads. Polymer clay canes that were purchased when I still lived in California and which have probably dried out by now. I have projects that are waiting to be completed. There's a Mt. Rainier cross stitch that I started when my dad was still alive, and he'll be gone 10 years this June. There's a Converse sneaker I started to bead, to enter in an 'embellished footwear' contest from forever ago...I'm not even sure if I was in CA or WA at the time! I beaded one paisley on it and gave up. I still have 5 Christmas Ball kits from The Cracker Box that haven't been done yet. I started an elaborate hunting-themed cross stitch years ago but because I had a hard time figuring out how to sort the colours (because I'm sorry, 'Peach' and 'Pale Light Orange' sure look the same to me), I stalled out almost right away. I also have a Winter Season cross stitch kit, unstarted. My bff Michelle sent me 2 patterns last year, one of which she's asked me to stitch for her. Nope, not started either.
That blue Absolut Vodka box contains a sticker maker that I bought a few years ago and have never used. But I had to have it 'just in case'. Now that I have it, I have no idea what to make stickers out of, or what to use them for once they're made. I don't really use stickers that much and I have gobs of them as it is.
Thing is though, I needed these additional items to try out the various and sundry ideas I see on Pinterest. Those chopsticks are going to be made into wands.
And how am I gonna make this project....
So yeah, I admit I have a problem, but I'm really OK with my problem. Some women are addicted to shoes, others to purses. I'm addicted to craft supplies. I accept it. I don't shop near as much as I used to, but I do enjoy the occasional splurge a couple of times a year.
It is my hope that this year, I'll get cracking on those projects that have been dormant for going on 15 years. In addition to the new projects, of course!
In need of vintage jewelry for some projects, I went spelunking in my many jewelry boxes to see what I had available. Stuff I'll never wear again but don't want to get rid of, yet can also be recycled into something new. I have nothing at all of value; most everything is stuff I made or bought at Dead shows and pow wows, or catalogs.
When I moved to California in 1989, I was a total newbie to beading. The only thing I'd done to that point was a simple 3' black & red strip of woven beads, a half inch wide, on a cheap craft loom. It was January of 1990, and I found an ad for bead classes being offered by a hippie woman only 5 blocks from my apartment! I called and signed up and I took classes with her for about 8 months. She ended up moving to the next street over, so I would hang out with her over and above my classes. Her seed bead work was beautiful and so detailed with the longest fringe I'd ever seen....her earring fringe would hang down past her shoulders.
When I first started out, I called my little business 'Lobo Productions', Lobo meaning wolf in Spanish, which was my last name at that time. The below pic is from my first year of learning. Those 'triangle' earrings on the middle and right side, use the Bedouin stitch. I was making multi-strand fringe on the first few I did, but changed to the loops because it was more unusual and faster than fringe. I loved making the kind in the bottom left. There was a huge renewed interest in Native American rights after 'Dances with Wolves' so that style was very popular, and also used porcupine quills in the fringe. The bottom center is the only pair I ever made in this style because peyote stitching around that light blue cabochon was a ball buster. It's the kind of beadwork that makes you wish you had 3 or 4 hands, but you don't so you have to keep stitching around and around, without a break, till that cab is locked in. Used quills on the fringe for these as well. A word on quills: They create a fantastic effect and I love them, but they are a pain to deal with, especially if you buy them somewhat freshly picked with the sharp ends. They have to be snipped at both ends and washed. Those barbs are razor sharp and stick to everything. I don't know if they can now be purchased with just the cleaned center sections, but back when I was using them it was pre-internet and they had to be ordered from catalogs specializing in Native American pow wow regalia supplies. So you got freshly picked quills.
This is the first pair of earrings I ever made in my very first class. I took to beading like a duck to water. This was back in the days when all my craft supplies fit into one little plastic tackle box. I had never seen crystal beads prior to bead class and I was hooked on them. I remember the first time I went in General Bead in San Francisco. Up to that point the only beads you could buy were in plastic tubes in hobby or craft stores. So a whole store devoted to beads was like nirvana!
I couldn't wait to make a beaded ankle bracelet with bells to wear to Dead shows!!! Back in those days I was completely addicted to those clapper bells. I still have some sewn onto a pair of fringe moccasins.
This is a yin yang which uses the same technique as the small Native American themed earrings, and also using quills for the fringe.
I also learned how to do peyote stitch in bead class, which make up the rows around the amethyst crystal and while I practiced the technique quite a bit back in the early 90s, I can't truly say that I ever mastered it. And I've never been able to do flat peyote. I wore this necklace to every Dead & Garcia Band show from spring 1990 through my last shows in 1994, including the Blue Moon New Years Eve show of 1991.
I started to reeeeeally dislike the tedium of working with seed beads. I have some friends who excel at their use, but it just takes too long to get instant gratification. I found that I would make one Bedouin stitch earring and not feel like doing it's mate. I was bored after one. So I started working with larger beads.
This is a stone I found on the beach at Bolinas in Marin County in 93 or 94. There are a lot of stones with holes on that beach for some reason.
By the time the mid-90s rolled around, I was living in Fairfax. and had changed the company name to Ross Valley Beadworks, because of the region in which we lived. The Y necklace was taking the country by storm in 1996, thanks to the popularity of them on "Friends", so I bought some chain and made a bunch, which I peddled with some fairly decent success that summer, to a small store in San Anselmo. This is my stash.
The left and center ones are Christmas themed, and I remember making them the first autumn we lived in Washington (1999). One of the bennies of making your own jewelry is that you can make stuff for the holidays or to match your wardrobe.
This is a 'treasure necklace'. I love how it came out, but I have difficulty wearing chain-type necklaces because the hair on the back of my neck gets wrapped around the chain and it's quite painful to get it untangled. So this hasn't gotten much wear over the years, nor have the Y necklaces. It's sadly ironic that I love & crave jewelry, but a lot of it gives me nothing but trouble, between chain in my hair and my metal allergy.
In 1999 and 2000 after moving to Washington, memory wire had just hit the craft stores, so I made some chokers, returning to seed bead work. Living in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, it was at this point that the Tahoma Beadworks name came to be. After I made these, I realized how much I hate chokers.
But they make great bracelets since I have a small wrist and I don't like dangling or loose bracelets.
I made these bracelets within the last 4 or 5 years of living in WA. I totally forgot I'd made silver ones with the pups' names and silver paw charms! I'd have to guess the furkid bracelets would have been made in 2006 or 2007.
It's interesting to see how my work's evolved over the last 23 years.
Browsing through all this old jewelry, I realize that I probably will never wear 95% of it again, yet I hate to part with it too. Some of the items that I purchased (not shown here) have special memories attached. Like the time I realized I left for a Dead show without having put my earrings in. I shrugged it off and figured I could just buy a pair in the parking lot, once I got to the Oakland Coliseum. Sure enough, I got off the BART train and there was a Deadhead chick sitting on the pedestrian footbridge, selling her beaded jewelry. I bought a pair from her and I still think of that moment when I see them. I wonder who she is and whatever happened to her. A lifetime ago. There are beautiful Huichol style earrings I bought at the pow wows in Oakland and Santa Rosa, and Dead shows. There is a set of four Masai bracelets my bosses brought back from Africa in 1995.
Not sure what to do with all this stuff....it has no monetary value, but priceless with sentimental value. There's a lot of it yet each piece - either handmade or bought/gifted - has a memory attached. Memories of my mid-20s, which are long gone yet sometimes feel like yesterday. Memories of Dead shows, living & working in San Francisco. I'm glad I kept it.
Martha over at Seaside Simplicity is hosting "Flashback Friday" this year, with the goal being to post an old photo every Friday, all year. Unfortunately, I don't have many old photos (really old ones, anyway), so my participation will be more sporadic. My mom's got all the old pictures at her house and I currently lack scanning abilities at this time. I mean I can scan them, but they go to a large desktop computer that has no modem and for some reason gives me an error message anytime I try to copy photos onto a CD that I could use in my laptop.
This is a very old photo of my maternal family's hometown of Corvara, Italy in the Abruzzi Mountains. I have no idea if my family's homes were up there or elsewhere in town. If you look up the town now, there are still people named Marganella that live there, and it currently has a population of 288. The Marganellas, and DiMartinos, came to America in the early 1900s, and were processed through Ellis Island in New York. My grandmother was 5 when her mom journeyed from Corvara to the Port of Naples, with my grandmother and her 6 year old sister, to make the Atlantic crossing in 1911 (my great grandfather was already in Yonkers and sent for them). What must that trip have been like? How did they travel off this mountainside and even get to Naples? There had to have been a train station nearby. I've seen a recent photo of this same scene and it looks pretty much the same.
To say that 2013 has started off with some challenges would be an understatement, and that goes for the crafts I've been working on. It's not just me; a lot of my friends are complaining that their lives aren't going very well either. Someone asked if Mercury was retrograde again.
Here's another dream catcher using one of the crocheted snowflakes.
The intent was to attach it to that hoop with beads like the other one. BTW, I wrapped the hoop with red gradiated floss with gold on top literally years ago; at least 6 or 7. I've been trying to finish some of the projects that I started and abandoned. I managed to get one beaded loop on and it was not going well at all. Not even a little bit. So I decided to tie them on with some pretty fibres that my friend Rhonda sent me. Every single fibre ripped. I guess the starch inside the loop made the crochet very sharp. I finally settled on a thick fibre strand to tie them, and then dabbed glue on the knots. I remain skeptical as to their structural integrity over time.
After that I just tied on a bunch of the different fibres that came in the bundle.
Keeping up with the Works in Progress, I finally used the last metal ring I bought years ago to make one final doily dreamcatcher. I was waiting for the paint to dry on another project, so I started wrapping the ring with synthetic sinew and floss.
Initially this was going to be a celestial-themed dream catcher. I had a moon in the center, but it just didn't seem to look right. I saw a snowflake charm in the pile I'd dumped out on the table, and loved how that looked instead. Then I sewed the crystal beads into the spaces and attached the doily to the ring with silver beads. I finally had the brainstorm to use twisties to temporarily hold the doily in place in the center of the ring so that I could sew the bead loops on. It only took me 3 of these to finally think of that solution....
Sewed some snowflake sequins w/ blue seed beads on blue ribbon for the bottom hanging part.
Continuing my neverending quest to actually do the craft projects I've pinned on Pinterest, I wanted to try what looked like a really sinchy project. Break up some CDs and stick 'em on a frame. This is the original pin pic, from which I worked.
As I've mentioned previously, I will no longer be shooting my projects being created. But I started with a plain wood frame, and painted it black. My black paint, for some reason, had the consistency of tar. I was so eager to forge ahead that I tried to make due with it as it was. Surprisingly, it did not occur to me to dilute it a little bit with water. Probably because I was too eager to forge ahead and got tunnel vision. When the paint dried, it looked horrible. I attempted to sand down the uneven clumps, with poor results. I then gave it a new coat with the diluted black paint, but it didn't do much to hide the imperfections. I figured that was OK, it's going to be covered with CD bits so I'll just make sure only the decent black parts show. I sealed the paint with some mod podge.
Now it was time to break the CDs. I first used a couple blank Memorex writable discs. This was the next disaster. The CDs are very hard to break, very sharp once broken, and the silver starts to flake off in chunks. WTF?!?!?! Then I dug through some unknown movie discs that the hubby had, unopened promotional copies that didn't look the least bit interesting anyway (i.e., 'chick flicks'). Those wouldn't snap at all unless I bent them back and forth a half dozen times. Then the discs separated, leaving me with one that was tinted dark, but clear, and then the not-so-good looking silver piece. By this time I'm ready to scream, but I moved forward, gluing pieces on the frame, getting glue fingerprints all over the silver pieces and muttering a constant stream of obscenities under my breath.
This is the end result. It Looks. Like. Shit. You can still see the black paint glops, you can totally tell the difference between the flaky Memorex CDs and the dull silver of the movie DVDs. I just don't care. My friend and fellow Vincent Vixen, Ducky, said she loved it. I asked her if she wanted it and she said yes so it now resides at her house in Minnesota. Russell pointed out how you can see the reflection of my red plaid flannel jammies in some of the bits, esp. the bottom left corner. Nice.
I wouldn't call it an epic fail, but I also didn't have fun working on it either, so from that standpoint it's a fail. Another one of a kind, never to be made again.