Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Yarn Along}

This was one of those weeks where I feel like I didn't get a single thing *finished*, not only in the knitting realm, but even in life in general.
There were multiple, albeit small, projects (baking, organizing, crafting, art, paperwork etc) that I wanted to complete but just couldn't find the time during the rush of this busy season. I decided to just let them go-there's always next year for the Christmas projects, and valentines day for baking treats.

I did manage to finish a quick little hat for Lotte to go with her legwarmers, the purple really makes her shiny blue peepers stand out.
I used a bulkier yarn and modified the pattern slightly. I think I could have made this a little taller, but it fits her nicely now. If she outgrows it too quickly, I may add some ear flaps to get a little more life out of it.

of course she wouldn't hold still for a picture of her pretty purple hat...

This was the first hat that I knit rather than crocheted, so it was a bit of a learning experience. I could see though how this could become really addictive-I LOVE knitting in the round...and to think, all this time, I've been so scared to try it!

I'm about a fifth finished -(yes, a fifth) on a scarf that I've been working on for my Dad-nothing fancy, just a boring ol' brown wool Dad scarf. Brown suits Dad though, so I think he'll actually wear it. And there's something so cozy and comforting about simple brown wool.

and don't you just love the cake plate under the scarf? My mom made this little bright & pedestalled wonder for me for Christmas!

My reading this last little while has been sporadic and un-eventful. I haven't had enough time for a novel for myself but I'm hoping to squeeze one in soon as I've had reading withdrawal. Any suggestions?I did check out a few books from the library this week on knitting, crochet and baby food.
one of these things is not like the other...

I checked out both "chicks with sticks" knitting and crochet. The crochet one didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know, so I'll be taking that one back soon, but the knitting one has come in really handy. I'm not sure that I'll do any of the actual projects, but the instructions themselves are well written and easy to follow.
It's inspiring me to even try the scary button holes!

To hear more participants' weekly yarn along, visit Ginny's blog here.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

On a Long Winter's Night

When at home with my family on these long winter nights, and soaking up every minute of celebration, warmth and surprise, I can't help but have a sense of peace, and a truly joyous heart.
I'm reminded of words written by one of my favorite authors:

"Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete."
- Charles Dickens , What Christmas is as we Grow Older

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.... {yarn along}

Joining Ginny again in this weeks Yarn Along.
I have so many projects on the go right now; it truly is ridiculous how bad my crafter's ADD gets this time of year. Really, I should know by now that I shouldn't start more than one thing at a time. Alas, I just can't seem to help myself!

Last week, Anneliese posted some the pattern for these gorgeous rustic looking snowflakes crocheted from twine, and as soon as I saw them, I just knew that I would have to try making a miniature version of these with my pepperminty baker's twine.
I'm obsessed with this silly string and use it for all sorts of projects, and I've been dying to crochet something out of it for a long time, and this gave me the final shove.

I love the way that they turned out and hopefully will be able to squeeze in a few more for gift toppers! They're a little tiring on the eyes after a while, tiny stitches with stripey string...but these were worth it.

I've also finally finished Lotte's little leggings. I still have to weave in the tails, but they're finished and fit her pudgy little legs perfectly. They're actually a little long, and a wee bit baggy, which is good, I want her to fit these for a little while!

I still have one gift to complete for Christmas-which I've just started a couple of days ago {slap on the wrists!}
I can't wait to finish it up though, because I have 4 other projects in line that I can't wait to try!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Herbed No Knead Bread {Batter Bread}

I make this every once in a while in batches of two loaves, and it's usually gone within a day. If I'm lucky, I'll get a heel. Which sounds pathetic, but it's actually the best part!

This bread has the perfect crunchy crust to go with soups and stews. And if you should have the self control to let a few slices go stale, it makes amazing croutons!

You'll end up with a thick dough that is too moist to knead, but not as wet/runny as cake batter. It's sort of a cross between the two. I make ours in a stand mixer, but I have made it the old fashioned way with a mixing bowl and spoon. It's a little tiring on the arm, but hey, you get an extra slice of bread because you burned extra calories.

Here's what you need  for one loaf, but double it...really.

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp olive oil (or butter)
3 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp thyme
2 tsp garlic powder

Oiled/greased loaf pan.

Combine the warm water and yeast in a bowl and let sit/dissolve for a couple of minutes.
Then add the sugar and salt,
Stir the flour in slowly, then add the milk and herbs.
If you're using a stand mixer, let it run a few minutes to be sure it's well mix. If you're using a bowl and spoon...cry a little and get over it. It will be worth it. I promise.

Now let it rise for about 30 minutes.
Then divide into loaf pans and let rise an additional 30 minutes.
Bake for about 40 minutes at 375f.

When it's done, let it cool a little on baking racks before indulging. It slices better when it isn't piping hot. It will be worth the wait, I promise.

I like mine just as it is with nothing on it, but feel free to butter it or melt cheese on it, whatever way you might fancy! Enjoy:)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lotte's Lavender Leggies {Yarn Along}

Joining Ginny again this week for a yarn along.

I have a lot of different projects on the go right now, but this is the one that I'm trying to finish up first. Because there are two involved, I'm terrified that now that I have one little leg warmer done that I'll never finish the other!

This is my first time knitting something on a circular needle, and I'm actually really enjoying it! My stitches are a little inconsistent in tension, and seem to be going slightly diagonal. I'm not sure what I was doing to cause it in the first leg warmer, but the second one isn't near as bad. (Any ideas, Rachel?)

Of course, when I'm finished the second one, it will look better than the first, and I'll want to take apart the first and do it over again.
I shall do my best to resist that temptation.
I was using scraps from a pile of gifted wool (see bottom picture!) and didn't have enough of the first shade of  purple to do two legwarmers, so I switched to a slightly darker purple half way down. I might play up the two tone with some applique afterwards, we'll see.

I haven't been able to do a lot of my own reading lately, but I've been reading "the Magicians Nephew" to the boys. I had forgotten how exciting these books were, I hadn't read them in a long time. I'm glad that the boys find them just as exciting as I did though, and beg for more.

This insane pile of yarn was given to me...I have no idea what to do with it all. Some of it's wool, and some of it is acrylic. I'll definitely keep the wool, but might donate a good portion of the acrylic to a senior centre or something similar. I'll never be able to use that much!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fort Wet Willies

While the little miss and I have been warm inside the house, the Men-folk around here have been busy outdoors with a project that has been dreamt about now 
for a long while.

"Plans" were drawn....

Materials were gathered...

Token awesome trap door installed in the floor....

Only a  few finishing touches left to be done, like paint, windows, doors, a tire swing etc.
I'm very proud of the Men folk around here for working together to build such an awesome fort!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Illustration Day

Decided to participate in this week's Illustration Friday.  I used to do these weekly just for fun, but life got busy (of course) and I sort of forgot about it. I like that there aren't really any rules aside from theme,-and that I'm allowed to let the paper be my playground.

This week's theme was "brigade". And honestly, this was the first thing that popped into my head.
When I was little, I used to imagine battles like this happening on the sewing table or in the sewing box while no one was looking.

Lotte let me paint a lot of this while she was in my lap. She only grabbed for the brush once!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheap Thrills, a Fender Bender & Free Toilet Paper {the rise, and quick fall of an almost perfect weekend}

Now that the Mr. is on parental leave, we have a lot more opportunity for family fun time. We decided several weeks ago, along side my sister Elise and her husband (we call him Siouxie, pronounced Susie-long story, more on that later) that we needed to make a day trip to Bass Pro Shop.
I say day trip, because it is, after all, a whole hour away, and the store is massive. One could easily spend hours there, really. And throw in a goofy pair of boys, two gun happy in a Sarah Palin-would-be-proud sort of way  men, and three infants, it could easily be a day before we were finished.

The day started out perfectly. Lotte actually slept through the night, so we woke up feeling relatively rested. I had been under the weather all week, but was feeling much better after some much needed sleep.
We got in the car, and managed not to get stuck in any construction zones or traffic jams. Lotte slept (again!), the boys were happy, I even managed to crochet part of Zeke's hat-which is camouflaged, how fitting for bass pro shop...The day went like this.

Arrived at Bass Pro/Mall

Girls and babies first went to Old Navy. (Stopping by Starbucks, of course.)

Boys played at Bass Pro Shop.

All the babies simultaneously soiled themselves. We didn't bother trying on the awesome clothes we found-
That would be pushing our luck. We decided that we'd try them later at home.

Bought Edie and Lotte matching headbands. Toby didn't even get jealous.

Returned to bass pro to join the gentlemen.

Discovered that despite being rather content, Zeke had a fever and a sore throat. He insisted that he was OK.

Decided that we'd leave and go enjoy a frugal family meal at Costco.
I'm not embarrassed to say it. And besides, Siouxie insisted that we go somewhere where gravy smothered food was available.

We arrived to Costco,
Elise and Siouxie did not.
We received a text-"We were rear-ended....-all OK, but we're going home".

We go back to the car-we don't have a Costco membership.
Yes, we're that cheap. We sneak in with other family members.

Reuben finds a case of abandoned toilet paper in the parking lot of Costco, and without
missing a beat, swoops down and picks it up, and carries it to the car.

We're still hungry, the boys are still hungry, Lotte is back to sleep.
Decide to hit up a really cheap Chinese buffet called "happy court" that we've been to before.

Happy Court has been remodeled into an Expensive Japanese Restaurant.

We decide to go back to Hamilton to a different cheap Chinese Buffet.
Hamilton cheap Chinese buffet's prices have been changed to absurd holiday prices.

a little drama was added for this

We end up at good ol' PHO DO BO. (Vietnamese)

Lotte wakes up as soon as the food arrives, soils herself royally, and throws up all over me.
We get the rest of dinner TO GO.

We get home, and tuck in the two tired, but well behaved boys. They were troopers.

Mark informs me that he's starting to feel sick as well.

I try on my old navy clothes. Lotte tells me that 90% of them make me look like a fruit stand/carnival act.

At the end of the day, Reuben gently nudges me, and says...."at least we got free toilet paper."

I think we'll have to try bass pro day again in the new year.