Archive for August, 2009

ONE!

My beautiful niece is a year old!  Surely there is some mistake here, because I feel like we were visiting her in her little incubator in the hospital just last week!  But, no–upon consulting my Ellie calendar beside my desk, I see it is true, she really is a year old. 

(If you have issues with gushing, feel free to go ahead and skip to the knitting pics as this next paragraph is going to be a bit tedious for you)I can’t believe how much she’s grown since we first saw her in the NICU at Children’s Hospital.  She was born a couple months early (I can’t help feeling a little guilty about this, since I was soooo impatient for her arrival) so she spent several weeks in the hospital before she could go home.  Since then, she has become the blue-eyed-curly-haired axis, around which our whole family revolves.  We can’t help ourselves!  And she may or may not have learned her first word and it may have been either Cat or Bubble, but these reports come from my mom, who (bless her heart) probably hears the Gettysburg Address and all 50 states (with capitals) in every sweet, drooly babble that comes out of that sweet mouth, so we shall see about that.

So bust out the crepe paper, pointy hats  and Tickle Me Elmo because there is to be a Rockin 1st Birthday Partay this weekend!  I made the cake last night and it is busy becoming resilient in the freezer until its big debut.  Of course, there is also a single cupcake for the birthday girl (because this feels “more contained” to my sticky-phobic family members–ask me sometime about why I grew up thinking popsicles could only be eaten during bathtime).   Besides the cake, which I admittedly asked if I could make, I was requested to complete a little short sleeved sweater, which I did, because I can’t say no.  Here it is:

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And look at this little pleat in the back–so cute!!
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Pattern: Spring Butterfly
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease (because it has to be machine washable)
Mods: No ruffles, just modern, clean bands of garter stitch at the arm holes and the bottom.
Mistakes: Many. i don’t want to talk about it right now.

Now, I know you might be thinking, “gosh, that is an awfully strong A-line there–it’s going to fit like a dress!” But you would understand why so much flare is necessary if you could see this child’s 4 square ball belly. You cannot resist blowing raspberries on this belly. It is like a blank canvas for raspberry blowing.

Here’s what else she’ll be getting from me and her Unkadunk:

Crayons, because she’s an artist
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A hot pink dress, because I have no self control:
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Remember Ollie? He’s been waiting quietly on the mantle to be introduced to his new mommy:
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Okay, so that’s what Ellie’s getting, but I also have two more things to show you! (posting less frequently makes me seem much more productive, does it not?)

First, my mom took in a stray cat (which is very unlike her) and named it Chloe. Over the weekend, I saw that our Co-op sells catnip in the bulk spices section (which, by the way, is the absolute cheapest way to buy spices, if you can remember to save the jars), so I decided to knit Chloe a little mousey toy and stuff it with catnip. Well, it only took an hour or so to knit it up, so I decided to make another for my sister’s evil cat Dante, this time in bulkier yarn.  I will now point out the obvious and say that using thicker yarn results in a larger mouse. This particular yarn created Mouse-zilla. I could not insult Dante with this beast, so I made another one in sparkley pink, which ended up looking a lot like a pig with some unfortunate facial hair. I will let the cats choose for themselves.
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Also, over the weekend, I got a little tired of knitting (don’t worry, I’m better now) for just long enough to take up a new hobby: Scherenschnitte. Behold:
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And I also got two wooden bracelets for $1

Last August, we stumbled upon the Woodland Art Fair here in Lexington and had some fun wandering around and admiring the art, watching people, and sweating. We noticed last year that there were lots of yard sales in the neighborhoods around the fair, so this year, we got up early and trawled the nicer neighborhoods for new old stuff. The fickle yard sale gods smiled on us and we went home with:

A huge green rug for our echo-y finished attic and the most adorable cream vinyl chair! $7.00 each.
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AND…

A set of four metal swivelly (but seatless) patio chairs. David’s been wanting to create some sort of oasis back there complete with fire pit and hammock. $5.00 each.
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On the knitting front, I learned a new skill:

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STRANDED KNITTING! I never thought I’d learn, but then I did and it really wasn’t hard at all! This is the Thorpe hat from ravelry in Cascade Eco+ and Cascade Lana Grande and it is BIG, which is good, because it is for someone with a lot of noggin’ to cover. Big brains, you know.

I also knitted this Swiffer Cover from the Mason Dixon book that I got for Christmas last year.

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I was disappointed because it was a little big (loose knitter + non-gauge checker = things that come out too big), but then we washed and dried it and it now fits like a glove! AND, bonus: it didn’t fall apart in the wash! That is quality, my friends.

Over the weekend, I also bought some superwash wool so that I can start a series of projects for my niece, Ellie, who will get the most stuff for Christmas because: 1) I love her best and 2) she is little, so knitted items for her are fast.

Enjoy your week!

Progress Notes

I didn’t realize how much stuff I’ve knitted since the last update until I hauled it all out to photograph it this morning.  I must say, I impressed even myself.  Here are the goods:

*Note: All the patterns are from  ravelry, so if you’re not a member, I don’t think you can see them 😦

Transformer Mitts: Fingerless gloves in disguise.
Yarn: Cascade 220
Color: 9938 (Evergreen)
Pattern: Urban Necessity Gloves

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Matching Fingerless Gloves and Swirly Hat:
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Color: Potting Mix
Pattern: Toasty (gloves) / Noro Hat

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Summer Tank Top for Ellie:
Yarn: Peaches & Cream
Colors: Ecru & Peacock
Pattern: Winged it…

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Curvy Cardi:
Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Bulky
Color: Olive (it is much more green than these pictures show)
Pattern: Raspberry Layers

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This one needs to be blocked and I still have to add a narrow seed stitch collar, just to finish off the neck, but in my mind, it’s pretty much done.

Isn’t that a lot of knitting?? I also just finished the main body of another sweater for another lovely lady, so I’ll be showing that one as soon as I finish the sleeves and ribbing.

Also, there’s been a lot of baking in the house lately because David is between classes right now, so he is going stir crazy at home. If it were me at home all day, I would have found something much less productive to fill up my time (like a private ALF marathon), but David has been cleaning and baking like a madman.

This humble loaf was my favorite baked good of this binge. It’s a “lighter, airy pound cake“, which is ironic because it calls for 2 sticks of butter.
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Less successful was my Pavlova. It tasted like a stale, vinegary marshmallow. I know you’re mouths are watering right now. David even felt like it deserved a trip to the Discount Liquor Store to get some pink champagne, which cost about $2 and was a good match for this blackberry/lemon curd filled crater:
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Luckily, I am just trashy enough to scrape the lemon curd and blackberry topping off the top of the pavlova before I threw it into the trash can. Then I put it on the pound cake.

Perhaps the most disappointing dessert of the bunch was a crepe gateau that was good, but not worth the two day long prep time that the recipe required
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I’ve been enlisted to make the cake for my niece’s first birthday and I’m thinking of this strawberry one from Smitten Kitchen, which was also the source for both the pound cake and the crepe cake (for which I forgive her because it was the first bad thing we’ve ever made from that site). It will have purple icing, because if you’re going to have a child smash food all over herself, it might as well be pretty food.

Tomayto Tomahto

Ah the tomato soup.  Behold:

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You know, I never liked tomato soup as a child, but I’ve found that almost everything I hated as a kid, I love now, except for cooked cabbage, which still disgusts me because it smells like a fart.

You can get this recipe from the Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper.  Speaking of Splendid Table, I realized this past weekend that weekend NPR shows are like grownup Saturday morning cartoons.  My favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning is to stay in bed with a cup of tea and listen to Car Talk, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and Splendid Table all in a row, and then to catch parts of Prairie Home Companion and This American Life  a bit later.  I think a lot of people miss out on this peaceful and special weekend activity because they believe that NPR is for liberals only.  Conservatives of the World! These shows will not offend you! They are safe for you and your children to listen to!

Anyhoo, let’s talk about the way poor people (aka me) decorate.  At our last apartment, David and I nailed books to wall and stuck this decal to wall behind our dining room table.  At our current apartment, we had not really decorated all that much, but last weekend, we stumbled upon a rummage sale at UK’s Art Museum and picked up several oldish frames for about $10 or so and decided to hang them artily on the wall, just like Anthropologie does (so many disappointments in my life begin this way.), so we hung them, but decided it looked a bit blank (shocking, I know).  So we traced lines around their insides and painted them blue (obviously).

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Still to blank, we thought, so we dug out our old books and nailed them somewhat randomly inside the frames.  Just right–I seriously love it.  It’s like little windows cut out of the wall that look out over floating books.

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So what do you think…cute or weird? Or both?  I think probably both…

Using What We’ve Got

The summer bounty is upon us, people.  Our CSA box has been a bit overwhelming lately, so we’ve been getting sort of…creative…with our cooking in an effort to use all of what we receive every week.  We pick up our box from the farmer’s market every Tuesday, so we pretty much eat normal food all the way through till Friday, but all meals from Saturday through Monday have basically become a series of vegetarian freak shows.  We bring it upon ourselves, though–our next door neighbors asked if we wanted their tomatoes (they don’t like them) and we agreed, then our neighbors down the street asked if we wanted a bag of squash (they have too many) and we said, “sure, why not!”, then on Saturday, we had nothing to do, so we proceeded to go to the big weekend farmers market and BUY MORE PRODUCE.  Seriously, my body is going to turn into one giant multivitamin if this continues. 

Anyway, here’s what we’ve been doing with it:
Peach Tart
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A peach tart.  This is definitely a fall back item for when we have a surplus of fruit (apples, pears, stone fruit, etc).  We just use a sheet of puff pastry, slice up and arrangethe fruit on top, cover in pats of butter and sugar, bake and then give it a brush with some melty jam (I think David used apricot jam on this one).  It is impressive and shiny and tastes super good.  Be sure to put down some parchment paper or a silpat or something on your cookie sheet, though because this juices everywhere and will stick like crazy.

David also baked a buckwheat pound cake, which used no produce, but was delicious nonetheless.  He’s been in a bake-y mood lately, apparently.

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This definitly doesn’t look as good as it tasted.  We used this recipe to layer potatoes, yellow squash and a mixture of cheese and scallions, then baked it for an hour or so.  I could have eaten the whole thing by myself, but abstained because we had guests.
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Pickles!  Two weeks ago, I went to Raven’s house to watch So You Think You Can Dance without David, since he and Donnie had both been banned from watching with us due to lack of respect for The Fine Arts.  When I got home, David was down the street at our neighbor’s house surrounded by jars and jars of pickles.  And they came out pretty good!  Very exciting stuff. 

Last night, we made tomato soup from a recipe in the Splendid Table cookbook How to Eat Supper.  It was awesome–pictures tomorrow. 

So tonight will be the most desparate and incongruous meal of the week, but tomorrow, we will be flush with veggies once again…
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