Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Am I Crazy?

I’m up to my little ears in boxes and I get a call out of the blue from a very sweet mom whose daughter attends a local Waldorf preschool. She had been referred to me by a mutual friend who thought I might be able to help her. It seems her daughter’s birthday is approaching and she wants a princess outfit made for her daughter’s Waldorf doll. Did I hesitate? Of course not! Hence, the crazy part. If you’re going to allow something to sideline your packing, creating a beautiful dress for a lovely doll to be gifted to a sweet birthday girl is as good as anything. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to devote to designing and creating. I went with simple for time’s sake but she’s a beauty nonetheless.

Complete with crown/train and knitted slippers.

And modeling the gown is Her Royal Highness, Princess Sarah.


Monday, March 29, 2010

I Brake For Knitting

Well, I tried, but I couldn't do it.  I not only could not stay away from my blog but I could not stay away from my crafts.  I had dropped everything to pack because I had heard we were going to be closing this week.  But after a solid week of packing, I couldn't take it anymore.  I admit it, I'm addicted.  I simply have to make things.  I was packing up my unfinished projects and came across a sweater I started a few weeks back for my 6 yo. to match her doll's sweater. 
The doll sweater pattern is from Waldorf Mama but I wanted my daughter to match her doll and couldn't find a similar child's sweater pattern. They say "necessity is the mother of invention" so I invented one.  I only had a few inches done when I started  thinking ahead to how I would do the neck and the sleeves and the button holes and well, I got a little nervous and set it down.  Fast forward a few weeks to packing and as I came across this sweater, I thought, "Oh no, I bought this yarn locally.  It's not available anywhere else.  What if I run out once I move and can't finish the sweater."  (See there's always an excuse why you simpley HAVE to knit.) So every night, after packing all day, I'd fall into bed and pick up the sweater.  Not only did the tension of the day simply drain away, but something else happened.  My fear of this sweater turned into excitement.  Suddenly, I just had to knit a little more, I had to try waist shaping with decreases and increases and designing this sweater became fun. 

So here's where I am so far and It looks as if I'll have plenty of yarn.  But, hey, you never know so, by golly, I had better keep knitting. 
It looks now like closing will be next week although noone has told us for sure so I just might have time to finish this little beauty.

Monday, March 22, 2010


So I've just been a little side-tracked lately.  Word came late Friday that the house is officially sold and we are moving.  Although we haven't been given an official closing date, rumor has it, that it will be at the end of the month.  Yes, THIS month.  So Saturday morning, I dropped everything and started packing.  In order to have even a remote chance of getting everything packed by the end of the month, I figure I need to pack one room a day.  Possible?  We'll see!  There are two things I've discovered while packing. Number One: Weeding out and putting things in boxes, does not suffice for crafting.  I'm going bonkers that my husband's vest is sitting there in the basket and I can't knit on it or that my spinning wheel is sitting there and I can't spin on it.  I did get to go through some UFO's (UnFinished Objects) I found in the back of the closet and decide which I am taking in the car on our cross-country move.  That fed my soul just a little. and Number Two: HOLY BLAZES MY HOUSE IS DUSTY!!!!!  By the end of day one, my throat was raw from sneezing my brains out and by the end of day two, I could barely talk.  I had no idea I would have such a bad reaction to dust.  So today, dear hubby ran to the hardware store and got me a dust mask.  It seems to be working.
Needless to say, for the next while there will be no Monday Night Feasts or Spinning Days or W I P Wednesdays but I will keep you posted on my progress from time to time and if I can fit in even a few minutes of crafting, you'll know about it.
For our 18th anniversary yesterday, my husband ordered me my very first laptop!!  I"m so excited!  So now I can document our trip from California to Tennessee and take all of you along with us.  In case you were wondering, we are heading to a little town outside of Nashville called Leipers Fork.  Check out our new neighborhood and let me know what you think!
Back to packing!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vera Bradley - Eat Your Heart Out

My daughter and I were in a gift shop the other day and she was getting all dreamy over the Vera Bradley corner.  I just whispered in her ear, "Mommy can make you one of those and even better!".  Ooh I love a challenge!  I remembered I had some leftover fabric from a tea cozy I had made a freind a few years back.
(I am NOT the one wearing the tea cozy!)
And I thought it would make a lovely purse for Angelina. 
So while the Viking was still here, I embroidered her initials on a piece of the fabric, grabbed a matching zipper at the fabric store and yesterday put it all together.
It even has a little pocket inside.  She is very pleased!  I think she slept with it last night.  Of course, when my 3 year old saw it, she wanted one.  And since I had just enough fabric left over,

She got hers too.
And yes, she too is VERY pleased.

For any of you thinking of gifting a purse to anyone, handmade or otherwise, take my Swedish gransmother's advice and give good luck with your gift by putting money in the pocket of the purse.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

W I P Wednesday - Voluminous Vest!!

I am so glad to report that with very little effort this week, I was able to finish my dear mother's birthday socks. Why they're only seven months late and winter's over but oh aren't they lovely to look at?

Now to wrap them up and get them in the mail. Oh I hope they fit!

This has really been so good for me, these W I P Wednesdays. I really feel like I'm making progress in my pile of UFOs. Why if I can complete one project a week, I'll be free of them in no time. I can actually justify casting on for something new. So here's what I'm anxious to get off my plate this week.

VEST FOR DAD from the Summer 2008 issue of Living Crafts Magazine.

I purchased the yarn, which is Brown Sheep Lanaloft, at a deep discount because the color was royal blue and so not right for my man. So I decided to over-dye it navy blue. Easy right? Wrong! I used a dye I was unfamiliar with and was very unhappy with the results. After two attempts, I gave up and settled for a mottled dark blue yarn. It actually looks rather interesting, sort of a kettle-dyed effect. This pattern has a bit of patterning across the chest which I do not like so I am ripping it out and doing a garter stitch not unlike the Cobblestone Pullover.

It is knit in the round from the bottom up and I have completed up to the underarms on the front and nearly to the neck in the back.
I have to confess my tardiness yet again. I wrapped up this yarn along with the magazine and gave it to my husband for his last birthday...uh, his last birthday was in May. Now let me just tell you two things about this project. Number 1: The yarn is DARK! You cannot knit this in low light or at night. This really puts a damper on your knitting times and locations. How can you possibly make progress when you can only knit when most people would be seeking out heavy shade? Now if that reason didn't sway you to feel just a little sympathetic to my belatedness, here's reason Number 2: My husband is an EXTRA LARGE! Now he's not fat, mind you, he's just a big man. Little did I realize when I began this project, what knitting an EXTRA LARGE garment really meant. I should have gotten a clue when for his previous birthday gift, I wrapped up some sock yarn and promised him socks for his birthday present. Did I mention he is a large man? Did you know large men have large feet? Did I mention the yarn was dark brown? He did end up with those in his Christmas stocking, though. (Do you see a pattern here?) It's obvious I did not learn my lesson with the socks but I can assure you that the vest has cured me. I will only be knitting for my EXTRA LARGE husband in pastels from now on.

And let me throw out a word of caution to those knitters out there who find themselves currently unattached.
When considering a life mate, think small to medium. If you must choose extra large, which my husband reminded me is awfully nice to have around in a dark alley, then may I suggest as part of your vows, you state that you will not be knitting anything but hats and scarves for your man "as long as you so shall knit". (In case you're wondering, I became a knitter post vows and my man looks like a goober in hats and scarves.).

Consider this fair warning!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spinning Day - Beauty And The Beast

Another Spinning Day and what loveliness to behold! The indescribably soft hand-dyed superfine merino/silk has been plyed and washed...

And would like to introduce itself: 630 Yards of Amazing Laceweight to be knit into a small shawl of a yet to be determined pattern.
Until the perfect pattern can be found for this beauty, work has begun on the big silver beast.

I won ths in a raffle at my local spinning guild a few months ago. You think this is alot, it came with the same amount of brown fiber as well. Remembe what your mother always said, "You get what you pay for." This is a huge pile of rough ugliness if you ask me and it appears to have been very roughly carded and dizzed into near pencil strips of batting. This is nearly impossible to draft and has a small amount of vegetable matter to boot. But sometimes you have to kiss a frog to get a...well I'll be happy to get Poindexter. (Ok, apparently you all are too young to remember the Mystery Date game. I'll have you know my sister and I played this game so much that the little tabs on the door wore out and we always got the dud.)

I wanted to get a rough single from this beast so I am doing a modified long draw and it appears to be working. As you can see, I have a long way to go. My intended project for this yarn is the Hong Kong Garden Faux Fair Isle Raglan from the Spin To Knit book by Shannan Okey. I flipped through a friend's copy of this book a month ago and fell in love with this sweater. I looked everywhere for a picture to post for all to see but alas there is not one on the internet. I still have to purchase the book but as you can see by my pile of ugliness that I have a while yet before I'll need it.

I'll keep you all posted. And in the mean time, leave no doors unopended (and no raffle prize unclaimed) because you never know when you will..."Open the door for your Mystery Date"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Night Family Feast - 17 Years And Worth The Wait

So how many weeks in a row do you have to do something to make it a tradition?  I suppose more than two but you have to start somewhere right?  I find that when the weekend comes, my mind starts to wonder about what feast I will prepare come Monday.  Tonight, it was one I hadn't made for 17 years.  My husband and I are coming up on our 18th wedding anniversary (March 21) and I can remember way back when we were first married, I was obsessed with herbs.  The first thing I did in our rental home was plant an immense and intricate herb garden.  I then proceeded to research recipes for things to make with my herbs.  I made herbed butters and herb infused oils and herbal teas.  It was so much fun.  One of the recipes I made for my husband then was Herb Crust Pizza.  I decided tonight would be the night to resurrect it.

So the menu?...

Herb Crust Pizza
Home Grown Spinach Salad fresh from the garden
Homemade Rusty Pelican Honey Mustard Dressing
and for desert...Fresh Peach Sorbet

This was so delicious and even my husband, who really isn't a pizza fan, was blown away.

While the dough was rising we loaded up the wagon and went to the store to buy the cheese.

The pizzas are topped and ready to go in.


And here are the recipes:

Herb Crust Pizza
(Makes two 10 inch pizzas)

1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar (I used honey)
1 C warm water
3 tbsp Herb-Infused Oil (I used basil oil)
3 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour (I used unbleached white flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram
20 fresh basil leaves
1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella, chunked
1/4 lb. fontina, chunked
1/2 pint each red and yellow pear tomatoes, cut in half (I used red grape tomatoes cut in half, sliced mushrooms, small yellow sweet peppers, and sliced red onion)
Freshly ground pepper (did not use)
Red Pepper flakes (optional) (did not use)

1. In a mixing bowl, stir yeast and sugar into the water.  Let stand until creamy and foamy, about 5 minutes.  Stir in oil.
2. Mix together 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the chopped herbs.  Add half of the mixture to the yeast; mix until smooth.  Slowly add remaining flour mixture.  Add more flour as needed so that dough isn't sticky.
3. Using dough hook, knead dough on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Finish kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface.
4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise  until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Heat oven to 425.  Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead briefly. Divide into 2 pieces and form each into a ball.  Cover and set one ball aside. Let first ball rest for 5 minutes; stretch into a 1/4 inch thick circle with your hands.  Place on a wooden peel that has been dusted with flour.  Brush dough with additional oil, and let rise for 30 minutes  more. 
6. Arrange 6 basil leaves on dough and top with half the cheeses, tomatoes, and peppers.  Slide onto hot baking stone or baking pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling.  Serve immediately, garnished with 4 shredded basil leaves and drizzled with olive oil.  Repeat entire procedure with remaining dough.

Anyone remember the Rusty Pelican restaurant?  It was all the rage when I was young growing up in South Florida and as far as I know, they invented honey mustard dressing.  It was practically the only reason we went there (well, that and the onion straws and the desert that came in little edible chocolate cups.)

Rusty Pelican Honey Mustard Dressing

5 oz. mayonnaise
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C honey
2 tbsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
MSG (yeah right!  I DID NOT use this)

Blend all ingredients in order listed.  Can be kept in refrigerator up to 7 days in a glass container.

Happy Feasting!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Pancakes

Mmmm, don't ya just love 'em?  My kids sure do so we make these a couple of times a week and always on Saturday morning.  With homeground wheat they are wonderful! 

This is the book I use for alot of my homeground recipes and the source for the pancake recipe.  I believe this book is only available on the Bread Beckers website.  This is a homeschool family who started their own bread products business in their home.

The kids love to help with the pancakes and they always beg me to make shaped pancakes.

Just put non-stick spray on metal cookie cutters, flip and remove shape.

And here's the recipe...

Note the change for waffles.

Enjoy YOUR Saturday morning!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Warned You That I Was A "Natural" Crafter

So what would you do if you were at your local community garden plot, which has been over-run with wild rabbits as of late (and we all know what rabbits will do to a garden) and you find that a coyote or some such critter has decided to make his dinner out of one of them and leave the remains in your garden,  Now I'm an animal lover as much as the rest of you.  I'm a vegetarian, for goodness sake.  In fact, to prove to what lengths I would go, I rescued a baby rabbit half the size of my hand and took it home and kept it safe until it was big enough to release (ok, I did NOT release it back in my garden) even though it's parents and siblings had been desimating my produce.  I just couldn't stand the thought of this little thing being eaten by a coyote.  But, forgive me, I digress.  So what do you think you would do if you found that a coyote had eaten cottontail cuisine in your plot, leaving only a few tufts of fur and a foot?  Well if you're a crafter like me...YOU MAKE SOMETHING!!!
Here's where I'm going to alientate half my readers and endear the other half but here goes.

I soaked the rabbit's foot in bleach water and then dehydrated it in my Excalibur dehydrator (No, there was not any food in it at the time!)  Then I glued a piece of wool felt around the leg end and wrapped it with a rubber band until dry.

Attach a key ring and VOILA!

Instant GOOD LUCK! (Well not for the rabbit)
O Come on, You know you all want one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Sometimes in life, you just have to crow!! 

W I P Wednesday, I needed to complete my daughter's knitted pants.

TA DA!! (btw, this pattern was published in the premier issue of  Living Crafts Magazine)

Next I needed to turn the heel on my mother's birthday sock.

TA DA!!  (I even picked up the gusset and am starting on the decreases.)

Finally, I needed to sew the fabric backing onto my friend's story blanket.

TA DA!!!

Yesterday was a good day!

As for today...

(Oooh!  Don't you just love mushrooms!)

Two pairs of Waldorf Doll Jammies

And a pair of wool pants to go wth both tops. 

And then, a quick trip to the thrift store...

And look at the rainbow of wool sweaters I picked up.  Oh the things I can make with these!!

And to that I say...TA DA!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

W I P Wednesday

Some of you may already know that Tuesday is Spinning Day in my home. Now, I spin on others days too when I get the chance, but I MUST spin on Tuesday to assure that I will get some spinning accomplished in my busy week. In my last spinning post you saw the beautiful hand-dyed Silk/Superfine Merino from Redfish Dyeworks that I was spinning up. 

It is now finished and yesterday on Spinning Day I began the plying process.  I decided on a two-ply after reading The Intentional Spinner by Judith Mckenzie-McCuin, who recommends a two-ply for knitting lace.  I intend this yarn for a small lace shawl or cowl so I am taking her advice.

I transferred half of my single onto my ball winder using an emptly toilet paper roll as a make-shift bobbin, weighing it all the while to be sure I was getting at least 2 of my 4 oz. on the tube.
And then put the remainder on another tube. Got them on the Lazy Kate and ready to ply.

I was able to start plying last night and will show you the resulting yarn soon!

BUT it is now Wednesday and I have decided to turn Wednesdays into W I P Wednesdays.  If you're a knitter, you know that W I P stands for Work In Progress.  I have so many works in progress, I'm embarrassed to mention them all.  So to force myself into methodically finishing them, I am putting them out there to the blog world for all to see. And for all of you to hold me accountable.  SO, let's begin...
A pair of knitted pants I started for my daughter a year and a half ago.  Fortunately these came out very large so they will still fit her and also fortunately they are knit in cotton so she can wear them into spring and summer.  As you can see, the knitting is finished and they are so close to being pieced.  Then I need to fold the wasteband over and add elastic.  Why have I waited so long?  Next...

A lovely pair of socks I started for my mother in September which were intended for her birthday which was in August.  I actually had the socks finished last month but since I changed needles (going from double points to magic loop) on the second sock to save time, and they came out different sizes, I had to start the second sock over again.  Aaarrgghh!  So much for saving time!  I am so close to starting the heel flap.  If I could get the heel turned today, I'd be happy.  And finally...

My dear friend, K, who lent me the Viking, and who was also one of my students in my Knitted Farm Blanket class needs her blanket sewn up.  I offered to do this for her since she has been so gracious about lending me her amazing machine.  Since I will see her tomorrow, this simply must be done today. 

So that's my W I P for today.  Stay tuned and we'll see if they actually get finished. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Night Family Feast

I've decided to start a new tradition:  Monday Night Family Feast.
Monday tends to be a fairly light day for me and I'm able to spend a little more time in the kitchen so I decided to treat my family to a bigger than usual meal.  A "feast" for us.  Our usual meal normally consists of a big salad and a vegetable dish which is not only healthy but time saving.  But with no classes and no deadlines on Monday nights, I decided to do something different.

The menu was:

Mushroom Lentil Stew
Brown Rice
WHO Bread
And for desert, Yogurt Bread and Strawberries

I say "was" because I never made it to the salad part.  When I poured the hot stew into the terrine and lifted it to take it to the table, the enire bottom cracked and dropped out. Ahhh!  I was able to salvage half the stew but spent the next half hour cleaning up.  So we had some leftover edamame from lunch instead. (Anyone who knows me would know that this kind of thing happens to me on a regular basis so I just take it in stride now.) :)  Regardless, it was a very nice meal.  Recipes follow.

Lentil-Mushroom Stew (from the aforementioned Whole Earth Cookbook)

1 1/2 quarts stock or water        
2 C lentils, washed                     
1 onion, sliced and chopped       
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced           
1 tsp dried basil                         
1/2 tsp salt
2 stalks celery and tops, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes (I used fresh chopped)
1/3 C oil (I used a tbsp olive oil for sauteing)
2 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic)

Bring stock to a boil and slowly add lentils.  Reduce to a simmer and cook 1 hour.  Meanwhile, saute onion, mushrooms and basil in oil.  Set aside.  Combine all ingredients, except vinegar, (I had to add a little more water at this time) and cook at least 1 more hour (I cooked it less), or until lentilsare tender.  Add vinegar before serving.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4 well. (Unless your soup terrine breaks.)

The WHO bread, which I'm not sure but I would guess stands for Wheat, Honey and Oats, is from  SouleMama.  Since the recipe is for a 1 1/2# loaf, I changed it for a 2# loaf in my Zojirushi. 
Here are my changes:

1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4 C flour (I used 1/2 home ground red winter wheat and 1/2 All purpose)
1 tbsp sucanat (instead of brown sugar)
2 1/2 tsp yeast (I always use SAF Instant in my bread machine)

The Yogurt Bread Recipe is as follows:

6 oz. yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 C oil
1/4 C apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C sugar ( I used 1/3 C honey)
1 1/4 C flour (I used Home Ground Whole Wheat - HGWW)
1 heaping tsp. baking soda

Mix (whisk) together yogurt, eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and sugar.
Stir together flour and bakin soda in seperate bowl.
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, add fresh fruit (optional)
Bake at 350 for 30 min.

*Flavors of yogurt that work best are: lemon, peach, raspberry, and strawberry/banana with fresh mashed bananas.

Pick a day of the week for your own Family Feast.  I'll do my best to keep my tradition going too!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Yummies For Our Tummies

One of the things we are very strict about in our home is no sugar.  In fact, my girls have never knowingly eaten sugar.  At birthday parties, we conveniently walk away when they are serving cake.  When checking out at the grocery store, they are not tempted by the well-placed candy display.  So for their birthdays, we make one of our everyday treats and add candles. Voila, natural birthday "cake".  My six year old wants either pancakes or muffins for her birthday but my three year old is insistent.  Banana muffins for her birthday and nothing else will do.  When she has a hankering for me to make them for her, she just tells me it's her birthday and I automatically know what she wants.  I found this recipe in an old recipe book from the thrift store.   

Anyone remember the Whole Earth restaurant?

Seven of them were gone before I could even take the picture.  And here's the recipe...

I add walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and for muffins, I bake for 23-25 min.  Yummm!

As much as we enjoy our raw nuts, now and then we will snuggle up with a bowl of fresh, hot, roasted pumpkin seeds/pepitas.

Spread on a cookie sheet, spray on olive oil spray and sprinkle with sea salt.
Roast in a preheated oven at 350 for 3-5 minutes.  When they puff up like little balloons they are ready.