Wednesday, October 31, 2007

deadlines

I have a few deadlines this week that have kept me very busy. Creative busy, which is always a good thing.
I participated in my first ever swap. Make just one sock and the recipient will make the other. This is the tyrolean stocking from fall interweave knits. I used Green Mountain Spinnery Vermont Organic. Three skeins make a pair. It is a thicker knit, and I am thinking the kind of sock you wear more at home, but maybe not.
Of course she needed a few more goodies, and a new bag to hold everything. I made that deadline, it was shipped Monday.
I also had to concentrate on Halloween. The costume part was easy, as the boys are being girls (yep, just wearing Libby's clothes) and Libby is wearing the costume I made her last year that didn't fit. She is going to be a pez dispenser. The head is so large and heavy, I sure hope she doesn't hurt herself (or someone else) during the school parade.
I did however have to come up with a craft for 21 fourth graders. I thought this would be good. It is an egg carton bottom, sprayed black, you then poke four holes on each side, and insert the pipe cleaner. Bend to look like legs. A hole on top with a piece of yarn to hang. Black fuzzy yarn covering the egg carton, and cheerios (or kashi heart to heart) for the eyes. The best part? I didn't have to purchase a single thing. We made a lot and hung them all over the house.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween. We will be doing what we do every year. Carving pumpkins, eating chili for dinner, and trick or treating. Well, actually, my husband takes out the kids, and I stay home, drink wine and knit. Hey, someone has to pass out the candy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

a new favorite

It doesn't matter what time of year it is, anytime we curl up on our sofa, it's always with a blanket. There has always been one favorite. Until now, that is. Last week, I mentioned to Erin that I was collecting all of my old sweaters. Not hand knit sweaters, but nice sweaters that just didn't seem to fit me anymore. Erin suggested I make a blanket out of them. (Thank you, Erin.) I actually think I got off of the computer, grabbed those sweaters and started cutting. I used five sweaters, cut 2 13x13 pieces out of each sweater (front and back). This gave me 10 squares, not enough. I then cut the arms, and pieced two colors together to make a 13X13 square. I now had a total of 15, needing one more. Pieced some strips together, and now I had 16 squares. Just what I needed.
I used a wool jersey that I purchased at our church harvest fair for $1.00 for the backing. Let me tell you, this is the coziest blanket we have ever had. The best part is that it is the one everyone "calls". Even me. I just don't get it until the kids go to bed. And then my husband knows, that I call the sweater blanket. Maybe tonight I will let him have it. Maybe.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

cookies and cupcakes

Charlie chose the cookie this week. An all time favorite, snicker doodles. This time I used spectrum organic vegetable shortening from whole foods. They tasted exactly the same. (I promise, mom.) And, they are non-hydrogenated! Gotta love that.
And speaking of tasting exactly the same, let me tell you about this beautiful cupcake. It is a vegan tiramisu cupcake made by my dear friend, Merrit. The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. My diet is not vegan, but I want this cookbook. Absolutely delicious. I really didn't want to share. But I did. A little.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

acorns

After seeing Kim's and Tracy's adorable acorns, I knew that we had to make some. Of course, I didn't want to buy the felted balls. I decided we should make them, so I put my kids to work. Last week after school one day I had them roll the wool into balls. Easy enough. Then as Martha suggested, we dipped them into warm, soapy water. The directions then tell you to pass them back in forth in your hands for about 10 minutes. The kids lasted about 2 minutes. I lasted about 3 minutes. I am sure there is an easier way to do this. However, I couldn't figure it out. Maybe Sabrina knows since she made a bunch for her beautiful bobble bag.
Next time, I think I would buy the balls. I think ours just look like balls of yarn with acorn tops. But, I guess there is nothing wrong with that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

making life nice

As we walked through the woods this weekend, we came across a wooden pathway. I wondered why someone would build it. It seemed so unnecessary. It was barely elevated, not crossing anything, and placed exactly on top of the dirt path below. I voiced my thoughts to my kids. Libby said, "Mom, it is like some of the stuff you make. Not really necessary, it just makes life nice." Wow. She not only put me in my place, but she paid me the highest compliment; one very perceptive child.

Here's to making life nice.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the vest

Vests are just the best. I love not having to make sleeves! Pattern: I didn't have one.
Yarn: Classic Elite Skye tweed. 2 balls main color, 3 balls of contrasting colors.
Needles: Size 7
For: Libby, age 9.
Notes: Really, anyone can make this. I got the gauge off of Charlie's sweater (same yarn). Decided how big I wanted it. Cast on with contrasting color, changed to main color, joined, and did a 2x1 rib for 3 inches.
I knit in the round until the underarms. Then following my "drawn pattern", decreased for the armholes and neck. After sewing the shoulder seams, I picked up around the arm and neck and did the same 2x1 rib, finishing by binding off in the contrasting color.

As far as the fair isle designs, anything goes. The thing is, you have to make sure that the design fits into the number of stitches you have. I used graph paper and drew different designs making sure the repeat was divisible by the number of stitches I had. Just a striped vest would be great too. That would require a lot less figuring.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

it's the little things

Sometimes it is all about the little things. A little hat that I was commissioned to make. From the book knittng for peace.
A little snack bag for Libby. Blair made one over at wise craft. I knew it was right up Libby's alley. I used a Martha Stewart dish towel to make the bag, had Libby write "snack" on a piece of paper, pinned the paper to the fabric, and embroidered over her writing. It is now her most favorite thing that I have ever made her! EVER!

And, a little pile of loose ends from the vest. Hopefully, a little photo shoot today after school.
Remember, enjoy the little things.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the lineup

I was going to show you my project lineup that causes many sleepless nights over here. However, the line is so long, I decided to show you the lineup that resides in my kitchen, and not in my head. From left to right.
::tea pot. Usually only used at night.
:: stove top espresso maker. Usually used only in the afternoon. Easy directions to make a delicious cup found here, by Blair.
:: coffee maker. Usually used only in the morning. 10-12 cups always waiting for us.
:: espresso maker. Usually only used to steam/froth my milk. Always only used for the cup of espresso.
:: TAZO tea. Lotus green (decaf) for me, please.
::biscotti. Usually only eaten with the cup of espresso. Delicious recipe here, by Elinor.

I am pretty sure that this lineup is not causing the sleepless nights. Nope, it would have to be the projects, since most of the above is usually decaf. (Except for the pot of coffee, that is always regular.)
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

up next and a little cookie

First of all, thank you so much for all of the cobblestone love. Charlie loved it too!

I have started Libby's vest. I forgot that when I bought the yarn I bought one ball of the oatmeal color. So happy with that choice, otherwise I think it would have been very dull. Since I don't have a pattern, I am changing colors when the mood strikes. And holding it up after every row, to make sure I like it. For some reason, this brings a smile to my husbands face. (?) I guess I am spending more time looking at this, then actually knitting. I have drawn the pattern (onto a paper bag) and am using that as my guideline. Keeping my fingers crossed along the way.

I can't believe that it is now the sixth week of school and I have yet to do a cookie of the week. I have been baking, but I have chosen everything. This week is Andrew's turn, and he chose, Chocolate Brownie Cookies.

2 cups sugar :: 1 cup vegetable oil :: 4 eggs :: 4 squares semi sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled :: 2 tsp vanilla :: 2 cups whole wheat flour :: 2 cups all purpose flour :: 2 tsp baking soda :: 1/2 tsp salt :: 1 cup chocolate chips (optional) :: 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
And because I am so into flax seed these days I added a couple of tablespoons. They will never know.
Lightly grease cookie sheets (yes, you must do this).
In large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until well blended. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350.
Melanie at crafty waugh, i tried to e-mail you regarding the cobblestone,however, it was returned.
Please e-mail me at lesliecla at comcast dot net.

Friday, October 05, 2007

first down

"Awww mom, are these going on the Internet?" Yes honey, they are. Charlie wanted nothing to do with "modeling" this sweater, but a little tackle football with his brother? Perfect!
What can I say about this sweater that hasn't already been said? The pattern is perfectly written and easy to follow. The design is lovely. Even for children.
Charlie,12,(favorite sport:baseball)
I can honestly say, I love it on him.
Pattern: Colbblestone Pullover by Jared Flood of Brooklyntweed, Interweave knits fall 07
Yarn: Classic Elite, sky tweed, 9 balls
Needles: size 7
Modifications: I sized this down to fit a 12 year old. This was very easy to do. Jared has increased for each size in increments of 18 stitches. Therefore, I just subtracted 18 from the smallest size and cast on 158 stitches. Knitting two less short rows also made the yolk a little shorter.
Notes: Classic Elite Skye tweed has been discontinued. The yarn is a little rough to work with. Tiennie has mentioned it "softens" after washing. I never (rarely) swatch or block, so this has not been washed. We are really hoping it will soften up a little.

Charlie said he feels a little like Ron from Harry Potter. I don't know why he would think that? Edited to add: (because mom didn't know) Ron wears his mama's "homemade" sweaters and has red hair.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

seven

I told my husband that I was tagged to do a seven facts about myself, but thought that I was too much like everyone else. He looked at me in disbelief and quickly rattled off seven or eight. Tagged by Hege for the seven truths.
Here are the rules:
1 Link the person who has tagged you 2. Tell 7 true things about yourself 3. Tag 7 new people
4. Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it.

Here goes: (as told by my husband)
1. a germaphobic (yes, a bit I won't/don't eat off of buffets)
2. compulsive (o.k., maybe a little, i am sure you remember the ice)
3. obsessive ( aren't all knitters? O.K., I do tend to play the same song over and over, at least 250 times, whenever I find one i like, this was last weeks)
4. need quiet in the morning (yes)
5. get cold very easily (yes)
6. very laid back ( yes, it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers)
7. claustrophobic (yes, a bit, if the kids come into the bed, I have to be on the edge, but that is really not claustrophobic)

If you read this, consider yourself tagged. Play along if you would like.
You all know I love to bake. If you don't have these ingredients, you better stop what you are doing and go get what you need. This is the absolute best. Recipe was given to me years ago by a friend at my child's preschool.
Cinnamon-apple cake:

1 1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup :: 1/2 c butter, softened :: 1 tsp vanilla :: 6 oz cream cheese, softened :: 2 eggs :: 1 1/2 cup flour :: 1 1/2 tsp baking powder :: 1/4 tsp salt :: 2 tsp cinnamon :: 3 cups chopped, peeled rome apples, or any (2 large)
Preheat oven to 350. Beat 1 1/2 c sugar with butter, vanilla, and cream cheese at med speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture until blended. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar with cinnamon. Toss this mixture with apples. Stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into spring form pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 60-70 minutes.

And on the knitting front, Charlie's cobblestone is finished.
Just waiting for an opportunity to have a photo shoot. This may take a little bribing.
My kids always ask me what I do all day when they are at school. I giggle and tell them that I play with their toys. I guess I will have to come clean with the fact that I try on their sweaters and wear their bracelets.

Monday, October 01, 2007

mom

Happy Birthday, to the woman who fills every life she touches with sunshine. I love you.