Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Which Cookbooks Earn their Keep

This post is coming to you from my new, cozy house!  We are hardly all settled, but the major furniture is all in place and most of the boxes strewn about the place are empty.  So, it's time for life to recommence as normal.  Which, in our case, is a bit crazy.
The new kitchen has a bookcase-sized nook!
How perfect!  And messy!

The guest/craft/playroom is still piles of boxes, My Little Ponies, and a half-assembled bed.  So, I'm afraid I don't have much to show you on that front.  In the meantime, let's talk about cookbooks.  I love cooking, I love books, so it's no huge surprise that I love me some cookbooks.  Mr. Book and I often get each other cookbooks for major holidays and spend quiet evenings paging through them together.  

However, many of the books didn't make it through the Major Purge that preceded the move. I wanted to pack nothing that wasn't beautiful or useful, to paraphrase the old sentiment.  Now that the books are easily accessible to the kitchen, the goal is to cook at least 10 things from each book, then write up a little review.  And clear out any that don't make the cut. 

What about you?  Any favorite cookbooks?  Why do you like cookbooks?  Inspiration, or do you have some you go back to over and over?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Family Matters

We are buying a house.  A nice little house with bricks, hardwood floors, and a fenced yard.  I am over the moon about it.  The cloud on the outside of the silver lining is that all of our worldly belongings need to go into boxes.  The silver lining around that cloud (wait - this is starting to sound like a lasagna, not a cloud...) is that I've been digging out craft supplies that I'd completely forgotten.  This has led to several impromptu crafting sessions, including these...

Matching pants for Little Dude and his doll (Simplicity 5276 and Simplicity 2826) made from several yards of flannel that I've been carting around for over a decade.  I've got coordinating nightgowns for Sweet Pea and her doll already cut out, but not sewn up just yet.  We'll see if it happens before the sewing machine gets packed up!

In other news, I've started yet another blog!  While I will continue to update this blog with knitting and general craftiness, the new one is more personal and family oriented.  If you'd like to be added to the reading list for my personal blog, leave your email in the comments.  I'll add you to the readers list (and promise to not publish the comment with your address).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wool Sweaters in the Summer?!? Part 2

This Paton's wool has been languishing in my stash for years, thanks to some poor judgement due to a 50% off sale at Michael's.  The color is pretty, but its quite scratchy.  Unbeknownst to me (at the time), not all Paton's is merino.  This is not.

Rose Cardigan.  670 yards of Paton's Wool.
It took several months (and more sleeve attempts than I imagined), but this batch of yarn is finally a sweater. A bit oversized, but should keep Sweet Pea warm next winter.  That is, if I can convince her to wear it.  I found the wool scratchy to knit with, and she wouldn't wear it more than a few minutes.

Reconstructed Skirt
 What she does love is this reconstructed skirt that I sewed for her several weekends ago.  It had been an unflattering green striped tank top languishing in my closet.  I sliced off the top, added a tube of quilter's cotton as a waistband, and ran elastic through the waistband.  It makes a nice, summery skirt!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wool Sweaters in the Summer?!? Part 1

This winter was hard on my knitting mojo.  I understand that global climate change has far-reaching consequences.  I didn't realize that my knitting would be one of them!  My desire to pick up yarn is subconsciously driven by being cold.  So, very little knitting occurred this winter.  This...

was finished for the Noodle prior to his arrival.  The hat fit perfectly at the hospital.  The sweater might fit in the fall.  Both are free, fast, great patterns for using up leftover sock yarn and make a great set (sweater is here and hat is here).  I didn't hit my stash of leftover sock yarn, however.  I have several bags of different colors of Rowan Wool Cotton (seen here in grey) and Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton (the blue).  Of the two, I prefer the Rowan - the colors are a little deeper, whereas the Debbie Bliss always looks a little flat to me.  In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to make a sweater in my size using the 2.5 balls I have leftover of the Wool Cotton.  Pretty sure I can't, but I like a good challenge :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What I was doing for 4 months...

Since I disappeared for 4 months, then hit you guys with baby pictures, I thought I'd back up a bit.  I'm not sure which actually ate my blog - my job, my pregnancy, my kids, Pinterest, or the expansion of my hobbies into new and different areas.  Lately I've been sewing...

Reading on my nook...

Making frosting with the Little Dude, who now insists on being called 'Medium Man'
playing both ME3 multiplayer (not well) and SWTOR...

Look!  I'm a Twi'lek!  On Hoth!

having post-semester family visits...
Auntie Jen/Antigen and Little Dude during a Game of Life.

at-home makeovers...
We had never been to an Ulta.  Apparently they're neat!  And I'm blonder!

and playing on Pinterest.

Not to mention gestating!

That about sums it up.  There will be more posts.  Summer is coming...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Look! I had a baby!

About five weeks ago, our new noodle joined us.  He eats, sleeps, cries, and makes the most adorable surprised faces.  Here he is in the hospital, wearing his first knitwear:

And here he is, in his embroidered onesie. IMG_7824 Life has been a crazy rollercoaster for the past 5 weeks, but we're starting to settle into the new 5 person family.  Sleeping and snuggles seem to be his favorite things, so I've read several books (my Nook has been invaluable!) and walked around several neighborhoods (thanks to our baby sling).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dress Shirt to Dress!

DH has a pile of discarded dress shirts that I just can't seem to let go (look at all that wonderful fabric!!!).

Since Sweet Pea is always after more dresses, I thought a quick dress might work. This blog post inspired me to try something cute.

I followed the tutorial, but left the button band functional (rather than sewing it closed with the waistband).  Next time I might make the waist a bit higher, as it's a bit 'drop waist' right now.  The pink is leftover from her quilt backing several years ago.

But she's seen me embroidery and really, really wanted flowers.  And I can always use some practice with French knots, right?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Last week, I came clean about the amount of yarn stash I have.  This week, I'm digging out some UFOs, most of which have been on the needles for months!  They will be finished, or frogged!
Kindled Fires socks.  One is done, and it wasn't much fun to knit.  The needles are small and the socks are denser than I care for... But the colors in the yarn are beautiful!

Flip top mittens.  Again, one is done!

This sweater was too short, and I wasn't wild about how the colorwork on the set -in sleeves widened my shoulders.  I frogged it, lengthened it, and now just need to knit the raglan top.  Now this yarn is discontinued, so I'm hoping that I have enough.

The Sock Blanket.  I didn't knit a stitch on this last year.  Not one.  Maybe it would be a good baby blanket for Wicket...

And another sweater project.  This yarn has been earmarked for Sweet Pea since I got it several years ago, due to its pink content (though it looks red here...).  It has, however, survived to major froggings.  This has only been on the needles a few days, but it flying... One sleeve done, one mostly done, and several inches into the plain stockinette body.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Embroidered Onesies

I have not yet knit anything for Wicket (the temporary name for the 3rd in our offspring installments). He's scheduled to join us late in April, just in time to not really need any heavy woolens. But every baby needs some onesies...
A pack of Gerber onesies and a few hours with Aimee Ray's Doodle Motif book, and we've started a little wardrobe.
This one is next up - the dragon's a bit more extensive than the octopus, but I can't wait to finish!
It's a fun, quick way to turn out something unique for the new little one.
Dragon (DMC floss: Body - 3809, Belly - 472, Back - Unlabeled dark green, Fire - 3853 )

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mittens on a Cord

Kids lose mittens.  My kids lose handknit mittens.  It's hardly a crime, but I'd like to slow the rate of loss.  So, I turned to the coat cord!  A few feet of Icord, sewn to the cuff, and run through the sleeves of the coat.

This has the added bonus of drastically increasing the speed at which we can find matching mittens first thing in the morning.  Plus, according to the Little Dude, it's kind of like having nunchucks hanging out of your coat. You can pick your favorite reason for the coat cord, but they're all pretty good!


The yarn is Elegance (190 yards), which I've previously used in this sweater, and this scarf.  The picture was taken before I added the cord, but it's now safely in place.  It's a lovely alpaca/silk blend that has, sadly, been discontinued.  The pattern is loosely based on the mitten and tam patterns from Ann Budd's fabulous book.

Of course, once Sweet Pea had a set, the Little Dude wanted one, too.  His is about 175 yards of Knit Picks Swish DK (the grey left over from this sweater, the blue-green from this one) and a butter yellow skein of Heirloom easy care 8-ply.  Both the hat and mittens are already a little small, so a third set may be in the works.  Goodness knows I've got the stash for it!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Year of the Family Recipe begins with... Salad Spotlight!

Family recipes... the ones that get made over and over again.  Or the ones that are so bad everyone remembers the night you tried them, and ordered pizza instead.  I have a separate blog where I track all of my food exploits.  It's more of a scientific notebook than food blog, really.  I record all the recipes I try, even the one that turn out... not so hot.  Negative results are still results, after all!  But, I wanted to bring some of the more successful and repeated recipes to this blog as well.

This year, my goal is to get 365 more recipes onto that blog.  I use it all the time when I'm short on time, don't feel like going to the store, and need some inspiration.  I started out with 46, so I should get a grand total of 401 recipes on their by the end of the year.  Starting with.. salad!


These salads are the mainstays of my lunches.  They're easy to throw together, either before work or at home.  When I take them to work, I have a jar of plain lettuce, then carry the rest in a separate jar.  Mix at work, and... ta-da!

Every weekend I cut and wash a big bunch of lettuce, then keep it in a gallon bag in the fridge.  You can try this idea here, but I don't have a Food Saver.  I don't, however, have any problems with browning edges.

1. Cobb

2. Greek

3. Quick Taco Salad

4. Bacon Turkey Salad

3. California Goat

Friday, January 6, 2012

More Stashbusting

2012 has many big changes in store for us.  We are planning a Big Move - not far, but hopefully buying a house!  While I'm excited about some of the changes, the actual act of moving is a bit daunting.  I look around our house, and imagine putting it all (toys!  clothes!  yarn!  electronics!  fabric!) in boxes and get a little weak.

For example:

That's not all of the stash, just the part I haven't seen in awhile.  It doesn't include the laceweight, or the handspun, or the drawer of fingering weight for colorwork.  Or the sockyarn.  It takes up half a dresser.  There's a sweater's worth of Malabrigo, a couple of half-frogged sweaters that don't fit, but mostly... odds and ends.  Some labeled, some not so much.  Most of it has remained untouched for ~1.5 years, possible 2.  It's a mess, and I'm starting to resent the space it's taking in my house.  And, the potential packing it represents for a move.

So... Stashdown '12.  It's on.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Trying out Applique

I've been intrigued by applique for awhile.  I got a few books from the library, read all sorts of blog posts, then decided to just try it out!  The night before we left for our awesome Thanksgiving trip to DC, I cut out two large rectangles from some of DH's old jeans.  Then I used the method from this blog post to make some circles.  I cut my pattern circle by tracing the top of a pint glass on some cardboard on the way to the recycling bin.

By the time we were on the way home, I had this:


I folded over the top, sewed it down, and ran a ribbon through it, to get a handy bag:

It currently hangs from the doorknob and holds my machine's foot pedal and power cord!

Applique no longer scares me!  In fact, I've got big plans...

Next up on my 2012 sewing list:
A Christmas Tree skirt! - I love this one
Embroidered Onesies
An abstract wall hanging
A duvet cover - with more circles!