Monday, October 20, 2014

A Few Knitt-y things.

 We've had a bit of car time lately and I've been knitting up a storm. B has been nice enough to do all the driving so I can work on projects.
The talented and amazing Julie Williams from Little Cotton Rabbits sent me a free preview pattern for her newest pattern, Mouse girl.  Here's my little mouse in progress to the right of the fox head. The patterns will be available for sale at the end of October.  If you are interested in the Mouse Girl or her Mouse Boy knitting pattern (or both of them), go on over to Julie's blog  or check her out on the Ravelry link above. She also has a generous giveaway for two stuffed toys on her blog right now.  Two winners will win these darling ballerinas.  Go on over and comment.
 You won't want to miss it.
This skein came in the mail a few days ago.  It's Must Stash sock yarn, in the Dark Side of the Moon colorway.  She must be getting bombarded with orders as her store is down until mid November, but I will be purchasing another skein as soon as she has some in the store.  I love this yarn company and the soft wool yarn as well!  The hank comes divided into two perfectly even skeins that start at the same color in the rotation.  You just ball each one separately and start just start knitting; there is no way to mess up the self striping pattern.  Why doesn't everyone sell their yarn like this?  I had my kitchen scale out, ready to divide the hank, and promptly and happily put it aside.
One sock finished and one on the needles.  Christmas present knitting is underway.  I finished the green pair of socks this week as well.  I'm on a roll.

I'm off to sew on a Bridesmaid dress.  
Have a great week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Few Things...

I've been working on a few things.
The Antler Cardigan in progress.
It's finished now and is waiting to be blocked.
The first sock from my favorite sock method/book by Wendy Johnson was halfway finished when I tried it on.  OOPS!  It was just a little too big around.  So I frogged it, wound it around my I Pad mini, 
wound it into a skein,
 made a hank out of it by tying it off in three places so it wouldn't get all tangled up and immersed it in cold water.
 Into my salad spinner it went.
 Look how much water I was able to spin out of the hank.
I hung it over the sink to dry.  Please ignore my sad, worn out faucet.  It's being replaced next week with a shiny bright new one.  The bath in cold water did the trick.  The kinks are gone and when the hank dries I'll wind it into a ball and re knit the yarn into another project.  I decided to frog the picot edge on the sock as well.  It was just too tight, so I did Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off and the second sock is now well underway.
Abby decided she wanted satin covered buttons up the back of her bridal gown so after making 15 of them, I laid them out and spaced them before hand sewing them to camouflage the invisible zipper..  Her dress is now finished.  I'll post photos of her in it later.

That's what I've been doing the last few weeks.
What's been keeping you busy?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A is for Apple

Fall is my favorite season.  
I love fall crisp apples fresh from the tree; pumpkins, squash, gourds;
 crunchy red leaves underfoot;

and lots of black-eyed Susan's and lemon balm in my garden (and sometimes on my cakes.  They're organic).


I always make this yummy apple dip when the first new apples are available.  It has a hint of maple syrup and just a touch of brown sugar.  And who doesn't love cream cheese?

Is it healthy?  Of course not, but who cares!?!  It's dessert.  

When my girls were little, I used to pack single portions of the dip in little disposable condiment cups with lids (like ketchup comes in), then I tossed sliced apples in ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh in the USA) to keep them from going brown and put them in plastic baggies.  Then into the girls lunch boxes it all went. Rumor had it that their apples and dip could be traded for anything in the lunchroom.  I don't think my girls traded much though.  That dip was just too good to trade for anything!  
It's still a big hit at our house.

Fall Apple Dip

8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup

Mix cream cheese until smooth.
Add the sugars and maple syrup and blend.

Whip in the cream just until the dip is creamy and smooth.

Serve cold with crisp fall apple slices.

This makes about 1 1/2 cups of dip.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Warm cereal for cold mornings

I love to breakfast on steel-cut oats and long cooking multi-grain hot cereals on cool mornings. But they have a long cooking time and are not convenient when everyone is trying to get out the door on an early schedule.

This technique will solve the time-crunch problem on busy fall and winter mornings.  My friends Cindy from my knitting group and Becky from Vintage Mixer both use a similar method to make oatmeal.  I adapted the short cut instructions on the back of the McCann's Steel Cut Oats can.

Here's what you do:

The night before you want to serve the oats:

Measure out 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil.  I like to add a pinch of salt to the boiling water.  Add 1/4 cup of cereal and stir in. Let the cereal cook for 4-5 minutes.  I like my oatmeal creamy so I simmered mine for 7 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and refrigerate the mixture overnight. In the morning,  remove the oatmeal and either heat it in the same pot or heat it in the microwave.   This makes one generous individual serving.  I make two servings for B and I.
We  put the oatmeal in our bowls, sprinkled some brown sugar, spooned on some applesauce and a few chopped roasted pecans and then topped it with a dollop of cream.  We were inspired by Das Cafe's 5 grain oatmeal.   You could cook the cereal with milk or almond milk instead of water, and serve it with fresh fruit. Add some honey or agave... whatever you like.
This is so good and easy on a busy morning.
Try it and experiment with your own version.  You can't go wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Wedding Dress

 There's going to be a wedding.
And this is what I've been doing this week instead of posting on my blog.

Abby bought a dress that was strapless (on sale).  She wanted one with a princess neckline and sleeves.  So a week later, I have taken the dress apart and remade it with a bodice (it will also have sleeves when I am finished with it).  The lining is altered, a new longer zipper's in place, the neckline was marked for the scalloped lace and cut out and the dress is ready to be joined to the lining.

All that's left are the sleeves and the bustle tape so Abby can dance with Patrick at her wedding.
Oh wait, on second thought...there may be some hand sewn embellishments later. And possibly a long row of tiny hand -covered buttons (just for show) up the back and some hand made loops on the sides and back so the 2-inch satin sash will stay in place. And did I mention that Abby is a teeny tiny bit of a thing, around 5 feet tall, so the hem will need to be taken up but that's a piece-of-cake after remaking the dress.

I'm in the home stretch and it feels good.  It's always a bit dangerous to undertake and make such severe changes on something so expensive and important as someone else's wedding dress, even if she a really really good friend.  Even if I think of her almost as another of my daughters.  Abby was blessed when the original dress designer gifted us some of the same fabric and lace.  Wow...he's amazingly nice. There is no way I could have found fabric or lace to match.  NO WAY.  The dress would have looked homemade and altered and not good at all without the same lace and fabric.

All this has been going on while the rest of the house looks like this....5 rooms of "like this".

I stuffed towels around the sewing room door and the dress is covered in plastic while I'm not working on it. The sewing room doesn't normally look like a bomb went off in there but there is overflow right now from other rooms that are being worked on.  I managed to clear out a good portion of it so I could work.
There's not much worse than plaster dust all over the house while trying to sew a wedding dress..
It might take a few months to wipe down the whole house.  There is dust everywhere!!!!!!!  The painters assure me they will be done by the holidays.

I'm hoping they mean the Halloween holidays.