Selwyn Gifts

Baby Selwyn arrived last week. Here's a photo of just a few of his gifts:
I used Knitting at Knoon's Safari Friends zebra pattern for the bear and just made make-shift ears with a crochet hook.



I think I have an all-or-nothing mentality. How else can you explain my lack of posting? When life gets busy I neglect the blog? Oh poor blog, I adore you. I am so sorry for abandoning you!

So here's the low-down. I'm working on baby hats and have been for months, two at a time - like two socks on two circulars. I'm almost done with #7 & #8 and after that I hope to steer-clear of baby hats for a while.

Next I'm moving on to Japanese Knot Bags to be used for walking the dog. My office is dog-friendly so I may make a few for the frequent dog-walkers in my life. I'm also planning to try out Amy Butler's free pattern for a business card case. I'll post photos when I'm done!


Playing Cooking Catch-Up

Work is getting in the way of blogging again. I had a cooking weekend a few weeks ago to re-stock the selection of ready-made frozen dinners. Unfortunately work also got in the way of cooking weekend and I was only able to get through half of the meals on the menu. Nonetheless I was able to take some photos of the deliciousness. Pre-cooking photos are so much more colorful...

3 Bean Chili
Split Pea Soup w/ Spiral Honey Ham
Tex Mex Chicken
Penne with Spicy Pumpkin and Honey Ham


Valentine's Goodies

This morning I made Valentine's day gifts for friends. I started off intending to make Martha's felt fortune cookies. But, after the first two I couldn't figure out what the heck fortune cookies have to do with Valentine's day. I put away the glue (I hate glue) and pulled out the sewing machine and made these little felt pouches instead .

They each have a few pieces of candy in them and I'll add some shortbread - if it comes out of the pan without crumbling everywhere. I didn't have any parchment paper so I'm hoping buttering the pan extra well does the trick. I kinda wish I had one of those special shortbread pans - for the two times a year I make shortbread. Probably not needed. Gotta get a bigger kitchen.
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Matching Baby Hat

The suite of baby gifts is done. Here's the hat to match the baby blanket.

I love how all the gifts came out.
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In the Nick of Time

Oh tax refund, how I love thee! Don't get me wrong, I hate giving 1/3 of my income to the government, but tax day was very exciting this year. So exciting in fact, that I'm now the proud owner of a Nikon D80 camera. I read every review I could possibly find and went to the camera store a few times. Finally, I returned to the store again last night with the rationale that I needed the camera for the baby's arrival - he's due this week!

Without further ado I give you my first photos: seasoned toasts, which will be served with the creamy spinach dip that I made for today's Super Bowl party.


Fabulous Baby Blanket of Fabulous Proportions

I moved. This means that I moved away from the fabulous camera that I used to use to photograph blogable stuff. I also got a new job with a rather generous employer, and subsequently a new iphone from that said employers. The iphone has an integrated camera, which is sufficient but produces photos that are no where near the quality of the fabulous camera. Alas, my blog has suffered and has fallen into a state of severe neglect.

But, now that the new apartment is totally pimped out Martha Stewart style I am finding myself with a bit more spare time to actually create non-fixtures. So I must start blogging again. I’m saving my pennies for the Nikon D80, but until my pennies accumulate I’ll be relying on the good ‘ole iphone camera for most of my photos. So there you have it.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to resurrect my posting habit is this AMAZING baby blanket.

And yes, I made it and I’m proclaiming that it’s amazing.

It’s for my closest friend since childhood – we were buddies from preschool through high school. She is expecting a baby boy to arrive any day now and this blanket is gift #2 of 4. Gift #1 was a baby sling that I frantically made the morning of her shower when I realized that I had a zillion hours left until blanket completion. It is made from the same flannel polka dot fabric that I used to back the blanket. Baby’s daddy was pretty psyched. #3 is a changing pad from a woman with a cuuuute little etsy shop. She also used the flannel polka dot fabric. And gift #4 is a striped hat that I’m working on now and will finish in the next day or so.

Also new in my fabulous apartment is this nifty juicer attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

I’ve been pining over it ever since I first squeezed key limes by hand. It’s a fantastic tool!


I am the worst blogger ever.

I'm moving into a new home this weekend and am very much looking forward to decorating. First on my to-do list is to make myself a bed. I've designed it and think I can make it for a reasonable price. Second on the list is to make curtains. I discovered at the boy's house that table cloths make cheap, easy curtains and the little clip-style rings make the project even easier.

In the knitting world I'm working on the Wild Stripes blanket from Knitty for a friend who is expecting a boy in February. I'll post photos as soon as I can. Perhaps I can take a pic with my kick-ass new iPhone.

And finally, quite late, is a photo of the sampler that my mother and I (very little emphasis on "I") made for a friend's August 2007 wedding.


Get This Girl a Camera

What's up the hiatus you ask? No excuse...just a new job, a long commute and relative homelessness. Damn real world.

There are lots of exciting things to post about. If I could only get my hands on a camera (as in, if I could only turn on the camera) I would have some kick-ass pictures to share. Alas, I will wait until later to share.


Just the Most AMAZING Cookie Ever

First, I have to issue a preemptive apology because I don't have a photo of this amazing cookie to share with you. You'll just have to trust me on this one - it looks good, it tastes amazing. Period.

Second, I have to admit that I have a fairly strong distaste for raisins. We don't get along. I prefer fresh grapes. But, we've put our differences aside and I present to you the most amazing...

1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 cups unsalted butter room temp.
Cream together until light and fluffy the add:
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Mix until fluffy then add:
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
Mix until incorporated then add:
5 cups oatmeal - quick or regular
2 ½ cups coconut
4 cups raisins

Drop by large scoop at least 2” apart an UNgreased pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins until golden, but still soft to the touch
Cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a paper bag to cool
~ 42 big cookies - the recipe halves quite easily


Loooooosing It!

I was bored out of my mind this week so when a friend asked me to teach him how to bake I nearly fell out of my chair as I ran to get my apron. Now this friend owns a kick-ass juice bar and is starting to offer baked goods as part of his fall menu. This friend also has a serious case of ADD and may be a hopeless student . BUT, as a result I was able to spend most of the week baking to my heart's content and I LOVED it! Here's a pic that I took with my phone of what I made this afternoon:
Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, molasses spice cookies and banana/carrot/apple bread made with the pulp from the juicer. I had such a good time. Hooray for juicer pulp!


Searching for Inspiration

I'm in a bit of a knitting slump. I've been really busy for a few weeks and haven't had much time to figure out what to knit next. I have a few WIP's that I could finish, but they bore me. So I'm searching for some inspiration. Below are a few books of cute patterns that I bought over the past couple months.Lucinda Guy's "Handknits for Kids" & "And So to Bed", Zoe Mellor's "Nursery Knits" and Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing."

I took a trip to a new-to-me knitting shop, A Good Yarn, in Brookline before I went to the Red Sox no-hitter game on Saturday. I bought some sock yarn and a pattern to keep myself occupied during the game. The girl who helped me pick out a pattern showed me how to knit a socking using the Magic Loop method, rather than my usual two socks on two circulars. She didn't have a needle long enough for me to knit two socks at once so I'm knitting one at a time. Unfortunately, socks bore me.

So now I'm looking for the next big project. I need to finish my shawl and may make a scarf or two, but I need something that excites me like the fish blanket did. Oh, and I need to find something that can be knit from my massive stash because the prospect of purchasing a condo has me holding the wallet closed tightly!


Finally! The Fish are Done!!

I finished the fish blanket this weekend with a double crochet white border and then a row of single crochet with the same blue as the fish.

I am so pleased with how this turned out!

Baby Bobbi Bear Goes to Camp

The Baby Bobbi Bear finally got some ears and a face this weekend. Here he is lounging at the cabin.

Safari Elephant is Done!

Safari Elephant made with Jo-Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed.

Camp Gourmet

Who says vacation is for easy parchese meals? Who says that sleeping late should take priority over a delicious breakfast? Give me the kitchen and let vacation begin!

How would you like to wake up to these sticky treats, fresh from the oven?
Or maybe you'd like to roll out of bed into the hammock and have a warm plate of sticky buns waiting for you.

Sticky Buns
(low fat version)
If you make these the night before they will be ready for the over in the morning

Proof 2 packets of active dry yeast (not rapid rise) in 1cup + 2T warm milk

In a mixer combine the following:
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2t salt
1t nutmeg
1t cinnamon

Add to dry ingredients:
1T butter
yeast & milk mixture
4 eggs at room temperature, 1 at a time

- Knead with dough hook for 10 minutes
- Rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk ~45 minutes
- Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, spray two 9x13 pans with Pam
In the bottom of each pan combine the following:
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup of pecans broken in large pieces

Roll out on a floured surface into a large thin rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup of light sour cream over the entire surface. This is what your rectangle should look like after sprinkling with cinnamon.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and then cover entire surface with 1 cup of light brown sugar. Finally top with 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans.

Roll tightly from the long ends so you have one long log of goodness. Cut into 1 1/2" slices and arrange in the two pans. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.

In the morning preheat the over to 375 degrees. Uncover the sticky buns and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden (put a cookie sheet under the pans to catch drips).

While the buns are cooking sray Pam on a serving pan that is large enough to hold all of the sticky buns. When the sticky buns are done and while they are still hot loosen the sides and quickly invert into the serving pan. Scrape any sugary goo left in the pan and drizzle over the buns.


After such a indulgent breakfast how does a beautiful and delicious salad sound like for dinner?

Finishing the Fish Blanket - part 2 crochet edge

After crocheting my fish together I added a double crochet white border and then finished it with a single crochet blue border. Below are detailed instructions how to add a double crochet border.

1. Start with a single loop
2. Yarn over the hook - this is the only way the double crochet differs from the single crochet
3. Insert crochet hook before every "bump" similar to the way you did when creating fish rows in the earlier instruction
4. Pull the working yarn through
5. Yarn over
6. Pull through TWO loops
7. Yarn over again
8. Pull through remaining two loops
Repeat all the way around. At the corners create 5 double crochet stitches into the same corner hole. This creates a nice clean curve. On the mouth and tail ends of the blanket create a double crochet in each stitch, which will be slightly closer together than the tops and bottom of the blanket. If you finish with a single crochet border create the stitches loosely when you work around the edges and over the rounded bodies of the fish. This will allow the blanket to lay flat when you're finished. Enjoy!


Fill'r Up!

Yesterday was "fill-up the freezer day," which is when I spend the entire day cooking meals and freezing them in single serving gladware containers for the boy to eat after I leave. It is the ultimate act of spoiling! Here's a pic of the super-stuffed freezer.
I began fill-up the freezer day by starting a split pea & ham soup in the crock pot. Then I moved on to a cheesy tuna casserole from our new Rachel Ray book. Then I simultaneously made a creamy barley risotto with shrimp & leeks and lemon chicken & artichoke in a white wine sauce over linguine. Finally, I assembled the boy's favorite mexican bake thingy (which I think is gross). I froze the entire 9x9 pan without baking it so he can have it fresh and hot from the oven in all its mexicali glory, eeew.

This morning after my run I continued running to Walgreen's to pick up some pecans and oatmeal. The run home with a bag under my arm wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But, the 102 heat index was pretty intense.

Now I'm baking a loaf of banana, carrot & pecan bread and am making a few batches of oatmeal waffles. I hope there's enough room in the freezer!


Beignets, Coffee and Creole

I went to New Orleans for the first time this weekend. We packed a whole lotta eating and touristing into 24 hours. We stayed at the W, which was obviously understaffed. Their efforts at five star service fell so short that it ended up being a huge inconvenience. Fortunately, we weren't in New Orleans for the hotel and spent very little time there. Although, it really would have been nice to have a bar of soap.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and went on a four hour walking tour of the French Quarter while we waited for our room to be prepared. For dinner we went to the Commander's Palace Restaurant. It was delicious and the service was excellent.
After a night of bar-hopping in the French Quarter we woke up early and enjoyed beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde.
Of course I bought a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix and a can of coffee and chicory at their company store. I also picked up a local cookbook "Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans," which was a cookbook of the month selection in 1978 and is in Southern Living's hall of fame.After a few more hours of shopping and browsing, including a stop at the local yarn shop The Quarter Stitch, we ended our tour at Mother's for lunch. I had crawfish etouffee and the boy had a po-boy with debris on top.Thank goodness for 24 hour vacations. Our weekend of eating probably took 10 years off our life expectancies, but it was taaaasty!

What's Better Than a Big Bowl of Cookie Dough?

Nothing! There is nothing better than a big bowl of cookie dough. But, it's 96 degrees outside and the heat index is 122 degrees so I'll probably wait until tonight to bake the cookies.

The DoubleTree Hotel cookie is one of my favorite recipes. I usually use a mixture of different chocolate chips rather than using just semi-sweet chocolate chips. Today I used mini m&m's, milk chocolate chips and miniature baking reeses cups. I used walnuts today but pecans are delicious when they're in season.

DoubleTree Hotel-Style Cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats processed in the blender into a powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or another variation)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix until ingredients are well-incorporated.

Spoon rounded 1/4-cup portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart (you don't need to press the dough flat). Bake for 16-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle - don't overcook!

For best results, chill the dough overnight or for several hours before baking the cookies.