Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Sweater

One of my dearest friends just gave birth to her second baby girl (her fourth child). I wanted to knit something for her new beauty that would be finished in time for the baby to actually WEAR it.

I sort of winged it with the idea from a pattern that I've done before, but in a chunkier yarn (and acrylic, to mitigate any skin irritation and maximize washability). The cuffs, hem, collar, and button band are in garter stitch in some beautifully soft and fluffy yarn that I think I got on mega-sale at JoAnn's. The body is stockinette in Lion Brand Homespun. It's still in need of buttons, but I'll see what I can find that's funky and not too cutesy-wutesy.

The beachy sweater is still in progress, but has been put on a brief hiatus so that I could get this out quickly. It will stay on hiatus until I finish my Halloween craft exchange project. Maybe Wednesday, but DEFINITELY by Friday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maybe I Need to Cut Back on the NPR

I had a horribly restless night of sleep last night. Dreamed that my apartment building was being completely re-done without any notice being given to me -- and that it involved moving my coat closet (??) and my cleaning supplies being strewn all over the building.

When I tracked down the maintenance guy, he informed me that it was because the mortgage on the building was held by Freddie Mac, and now that the government had taken it over, everything needed to be OSHA compliant, and the location of my coat rack wasn't acceptable.

There was also something about WaMu and Carl Kasell.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day at the Beach

KnitPicks is my favoritefavorite online yarn shop. They have such beautiful and reasonably priced sock yarn, and their pattern selection is awesome.
Last winter, on a whim, I ordered the yarn to make this "Day at the Beach" sweater. I finally cast in on last night, and I am totally in love. It's going to take me FOREVER to knit this thing, but it will be very pretty once it's done!
I'll have progress pictures soon. Once I have more than two inches of herringbone done!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Recipe: Mac 'n' Cheese

So, Tracy posted about homemade mac 'n' cheese last week. And then, the weather was drizzly and grey all weekend, so of COURSE mac 'n' cheese had to be made.

I remember that Rachael Ray once did a butternut squash mac 'n' cheese, and, while I know it is fashionable to hate on RayRay, anything that lets me sneak veggies into my unsuspecting picky eater is all good in my book.

So, I did a sort of remember it/wing it combo here. It turned out SUPER yum -- enough that I think this might become my default cheese sauce recipe, and a regular in the rotation.

Vivi helped make the cheese sauce and sprinkle on the "cinnamon" (breadcrumb topping), and ate two servings. THAT is some success, right there.

Mac 'n' Cheese
1 pound whole wheat cavatappi or elbow noodles, cooked about 1 minute less than shortest cooking time given on package
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp ground mustard
1 generous pinch salt (around 1.5 tsp)
1 package frozen butternut squash, thawed
4 grinds of black pepper (1/4 tsp)
1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (but could sub liquid dairy of any persuasion here)
2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt the 2 tbsp of butter. Add the grated onion, mustard, salt, and pepper, and saute until onion is fragrant and translucent. Stir in the butternut squash puree and almond milk, and warm through. Incorporate the cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Add a good-sized ladleful (about 1/2 c) of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce. Reduce heat to low, stir in the parmesan.

Drain the pasta, and pour the noodles into the cheese sauce, tossing to coat. Turn the noodle mixture into a casserole dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and melted butter, and sprinkle over the noodles as a topping.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and top is browned.

Craft Exchange Project

I belong to an internet message forum that's been around in various incarnations for about 10 years now (OMG. Am old.)
We've done various craft, ornament, and gift exchanges in the past, and they were all very fun. We're doing a Halloween craft exchange now, and I'm all excited about it. I'm getting a chance to try out a couple of new skills, including quilting. I'll post finished pics when I'm done (and after the recepient has gotten it), but here's a little bit of my work-in-progress (and my first log cabin squares! Yay!).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Ubiquitous Pillowcase Dress

I know everyone and their mother has made these, but when I saw these pillowcases at Goodwill, I knew that my girls NEEDED them for dresses. The embroidered flower baskets and lace trim were FAR too cute not to come home with me.

I used Grace Violet's tutorial, and it was easy-peasy. Well, except for the part where I had my machine mis-threaded and it took forever and a day to pick out the rat's nest of stitches on the strap that were the result. But that's my own airy-fairy-not-paying-attention-ness, which is no fault of the lovely and talented Grace Violet.

The only part that got a little tricky was the armholes. They kind of want to wing outward on me, instead of staying nicely pressed and tucked under. I am sure that's my fault, too. But it's not that noticeable once the dress is on the child.

I used 1" elastic to gather the front and back, which looks fine on Trin, but is a little bit overwhelmingly large on Viv. If I did these again, I'd bump hers down to 1/2".

I also might try the bias tape armhole binding/strap tie method that's tutorial-ized at Freshly Picked, to eliminate the above-mentioned winging. And possibly get very crazy, and make my own contrasting bias tape. Mostly because it is an excuse to buy a bias-tape-maker. I just think they are nifty as all heck.

Here's the dress on my littlest model. Doesn't she look sweet and adorable and demure? It is all an act. She is pure rottenness, honestly. Just all will and stubbornness and attitude.

But, she is awfully snuggable and smoochable. So she has that going for her.

Seriously, those little cheeks are like ripe peaches. I want to go nibble on her right now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Project List

I don't normally love lists, but because the holidays are fast approaching, I need to get my project list in order so that I don't accidentally miss something or leave it out!

1) Mittens for Trin

2) Mittens for Viv

3) Twirly skirts for Trin and Viv (using the House on Hill Road tutorial). Her blog is so pretty it makes me sigh.

4) Halloween craft for exchange.

5) Tutus for girls' Halloween costumes. (Ballerinas, natch.)

6) Fabric dollhouses for nieces' Christmas gifts.

7) Covered barrettes for T&V's St Nick stockings.

8) Socks for the German.

9) "Fall/Winter" covers for my throw pillows.

10) Cushion covers for my chairs.

11) Dress for Viv (using this RAD fabric from Superbuzzy and teal gingham.)
12) Alabama Stitch Book covered journals for Trin and Viv's teachers.
Whew! I am tired and I haven't even started on any of that yet!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Am Golden Nugget

This is cool: Pantone's ColorStrology (link via How About Orange) tells you about the color that corresponds in some kooky numerological-wave-way to the date of your birth.

I am Pantone 16-1142, aka "Golden Nugget," which: HEE!

However, the color is actually very lovely, and I would indeed like to surround myself with it, per Pantone's suggestion.

From the site:

YOU were born for success and many of you enjoy the limelight. Smart and
capable, you don't like to wait for anyone else to give you permission to do
something. You are intellectually active and your mind works overtime. Physical
activity is important for your well-being. Your personal color intensifies your
shining spirit. Wearing, meditating, or surrounding yourself with Golden Nugget
helps you balance your emotions and keep your moods on an even keel.

The Monkey Faces

I'm so incredibly lucky to be the mom to two beautiful, charming, silly, and deeply, deeply WEIRD girls.

Trinity is six. Genevieve (Vivi) is three.

They love books, baking, art projects (especially the messy kind), ballerinas, black beans and rice, and bathroom humor.

They are my reasons for being. They make me want to be the best role model as a mom and a woman that I can be. They are my guinea pigs and my muses and my super-demanding and more-than-occasionally-micro-managerial boss ladies.

They are my rotten snugglemuffilicious Monkey Faces. And I am the luckiest in the world that they love me right back.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Raison d'etre

About two months ago, I re-discovered being creative.

With the creativity came a renewed sense of joy and purpose and excitement.

Since there is far too little joy and positive purpose and excitement in the world, I thought I'd share a little of mine.

So, welcome!