Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Cranberry Love

Let's call cranberries the bookend fruit of 2013. I started the year with a cranberry buckle, and I think I'm going to end it perfecting the bars below.

On Thanksgiving day, along with the perfectly jelled cranberry sauce from a can, we had some homemade sauce. Some years I dress it up with citrus and rosemary, but this year I kept it simple : cranberries, sugar and water. Either way, I love it!

With our small gathering {and their even smaller appetite for cranberry sauce}, we had plenty of extra for playing with. I added a layer to our cheese plate's bucheron ::

And a cup of the leftover sauce was used to make these Cranberry-Nut Streusel Bars ::

They were delicious, but just like my photographs, with a little experimenting, we can do better! The recipe asks you to use the same crumbly streusel topping for the top and bottom of the bars. It made them very crumbly and almost impossible to pick up {but delicious}. I was excited to make them because they reminded me of a raspberry bar in our local coffee shop, but that bar as a more substantial cookie/shortbread type bottom, which should be easy to make with a bit of experimenting. I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, we figured out that these are just perfect crumbled over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fast, warm, and {amazing} hats!

Just when my Christmas elving was hitting high gear, Calder made a request for a new winter hat. A request for anything knit can never be denied, especially when it's something as fast as a hat, and especially when he's still wearing a hat that I knit for him seven years ago (7 years without misplacing it, wow!).

The hard part about knitting for Calder is that he's slightly very picky when it comes to color, fit, level of "itchiness" etc. So really, it's amazing that I was able to knit him a hat that met all of his requirements for seven years. Can I do it again?

When it came to color, he asked for something that was "mostly grey with pops of pink and green", but then he also mentioned that there could be other colors too. He has also complimented the colors in Alex's circle blanket numerous times.

So the yarn choice was obvious, I went directly to Lion Brand's Amazing yarn. Usually I don't love yarns with an acrylic base, but I love this yarn. The color combinations and variations from one ball to the next make it a lot of fun. It's a frustrating love, because I only use the yarn once in a while, and when I'm not using it, my fingers are crossed that they don't discontinue it!

The one problem I had when thinking about this hat was that I wanted there to be some consistency throughout the hat, and the balls that change color really jump around {which I also wanted to give me the "pops" of color for pops}. Sooooo my bright idea was to pick out two skeins : one that was "mostly grey" and then pair that with one of skeins with brighter colors. Long story long, I went with Olympia for the greys and Arcadia for the colors. Knitting the hat with both yarns held together produces the hat you see in the first picture.

Here's the basic pattern on size US10 needles with the amazing yarn held double:
~ cast on 72 stitches using either the magic loop or double pointed needles
~ knit 2 purl 2 for seven rounds
~ knit straight for 36 rounds
~ decrease round : knit 1 knit 2 together all the way around (48 stitches remain)
~ knit 2 rounds
~ decrease round : knit 1 knit 2 together all the way around (32 stitches remain)
~ knit 2 rounds
~ decrease round : knit 2 together all the way around (16 stitches remain)
~ decrease round : knit 2 together all the way around (8 stitches remain)
~ cut your yarn, thread it through the remaining stitches, pull it tight and close up your hat!

I was surprised at how much the Olympia skein toned down the colors in Arcadia. Honestly, I think C would have liked it a little brighter, but I like the muted look.

Since that first hat was so easy and the results such a fun surprise, I picked up two more skeins another  Arcadia and a Rainforest. Notice how different this Arcadia {on the left} is from the one above.

I think there's time for one more hat, but then it's back to the elving… I'll just stock up on amazing combinations in case we need a last minute gift :-).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More elving

Learning new stitches and knitting in white with wooden needles is making this project fun!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Christmas "elving" has begun!

Experimenting with some new projects!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hey there!

We're still here! Livin' life. Living the pumpkin-picking, sweater-wearing, fall life, and it's been good.

I love the photo albums and journaling in this format, and I'm so sad I haven't been keeping up with it lately. As everyone and their mother has told me ~ time will fly, and it has.

We celebrated Little A's half-birthday this month {with half a cake and a party hat, of course!}.

Alex's new skills include eating, telling us with loud grunts and grumbles when he is definitely unhappy, and sitting up on his own!

That last skill was particularly handy when we spent the weekend in Saxis, transplanting some of the perennials that we thinned out from my house. I've never moved plants like this before, so I'm really excited to see how everything does this spring. If we're successful, it was such an easy {and cheap} way to get a garden started down there {the white "fence" is to help our over-zealous mower stay in the lines}.

The whole weekend we were able to put Alex outside on a blanket with a few toys to play while we worked ~ freedom!

Since there's been far too little knitting around these parts, let's end with the aforementioned wool-wearing. I didn't get much of a chance to wear my Stasis sweater or the Seasons hat {I'm not sure if I've even posted about this after it was finished?} because I was pregnant last winter. The hat is knit from yarn that was leftover from the sweater, and I like having the same-same, but different set. I've been wearing the two non-stop making up for lost time.

Finally, knitting does happen around here! Alex is sporting a new hat ~ just a little cable number that I made up using some Debbie Bliss alpaca-silk. It's uber cozy and uber stretchy for that growing noggin.

And that is it! We are most definitely alive and kicking. If time is on my side, a whole month won't pass without an update.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Fair!

The food, the people, the critters. It was so good!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Late Summer Hike

Photos from our first hike after returning from California {one month ago now!}. The humidity, lush green colors {with hints of the coming fall}, musty smells, and more gradual incline of the Appalachians jolted our senses out of the Sierras, leaving no doubt that we were home.

Did you spot the toad in the second picture?!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Linking this to that. and that. and that.

Funny thing, I fixed my photo storage problem, and then promptly set up the hard drive on the desk in the room where Alex sleeps, making it impossible to upload photos when he's sleeping and my hands are actually free to do the typing. Oops.

Anyway, we've been doing a lot of listening to fun stuff. Like the record above. Of course, the stories are great, but the telling of the stories is just fantastic on that recording.

And then I found this: A Light in the Attic. It's an album with 35 of Shel Silverstein's poems put to music... and it's free and oh so much fun to listen to. Go grab yourself a copy and thank that artist.

I can't wait until Alex is old enough to start making things and collecting Badges! That link takes you to, a site where kids can learn about all sorts of careers and skills while uploading their projects and earning badges along the way. It looks awesome.

Want to see what else people are up to, check out this art. Amazing, right?

But wait! There's more! A whole pile of people are competing for the best job in the world, including my sister Sarah. Either of those links will take you to her submission video. Go there, get inspired, and vote for her. Thanks!

Next week we're back with a whole pile of fun.