January 25, 2010

a quick bit of awesome before I scoot to yoga

This is my husband and I:

This evokes a magical autumnal/academic feeling and I desperately want that skirt (and the narrow hips that would look awesome in it):


All images from hitchcockblonde

crunchy granola

I've never made homemade granola. I wanted to try.

So, last night I grabbed these ingredients (whoops, vanilla got cut off):

and the end result was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. For this batch I didn't want any dried fruit or anything, just the basic oats and nuts, and it's perfect.

It doesn't take an overly pretty picture, but it's proving to pose a MASSIVE problem for me, in that when I walk by it, if I take a small handful, I seem to lose time and then awake 15 minutes later to find myself still standing there, with crumbs all over my breastal shelf and a significantly smaller amount left in the container.

I used about a third cup honey, a quarter cup each syrup and veggie oil, 2 T water, some salt, vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar, and mixed it together to cover about 4 cups of rolled oats and a cup of crushed pecans. Baked it for about 35 minutes, stirring it every 10 or so.

This is basically the recipe in my new favorite book, Artisan Breads (the link is in a post below. Granola makes me lazy) with a few small mods.

I also had some temporary blue streaks in my hair last night, given to me by our friends' 12 year old daughter, so perhaps that helped to inject some awesome into the granola, but I don't think the blue streaks are necessary.

January 21, 2010

January 19, 2010

said the devil to the jenny "is it cold in here?"

Two things I really Just Don't Knit- sweaters and scarves. I'm a socks, hats, cowls, mittens, gloves, fingerless mitts kind of knitter. The occasional lacy shawl or something. I like bitesized projects that have lots of variety within them. If I get too deep into lace or colorwork and I'm desperate for some plain ol' stockinette, I'll do a simple pair of basic socks.

I've started a few sweaters. I've finished a couple too, but they're all too short because I have NO patience for MILES of stockinette. Being a chesty little somebody (I use the word "little" euphemistically here. "Little" in this case actually means "XL"), it's hard to find sweater patterns that fit well, plus it takes a lot longer to knit them. I get really bored and end up binding off way too soon and have something that stops at about waist level. While, sure, I have a pretty hourglassy shape, it is, ahem, a "little" hourglass, and no sweater is going to look good stopping at the narrowest part of, ahem, a "little" hourglass. Emphasizing my big squishy belly by having a sweater that stops just above it is really NOT the head-turning, show stopping look you might think it is. I just can't seem to keep knitting until I get to an appropriate length, it just gets boring and the sweaters end up lost in my pile of UFOs forever (see: CPH.) Even an interesting lace or cable pattern will probably drive me crazy, and in all honesty, if I can't finish a project in a pretty short amount of time, I'm going to lose interest. I lose interest in things pretty quickly. I've been married for about three and a half months and frankly I'm shocked we aren't divorced yet.

As you might imagine, things like scarves drive me SUPER CRAZY. Ugh! I HATE SCARVES! EVIL scarfy fuckers! Like all new knitters I started with a scarf. It's currently on the needles buried somewhere deep in my mom's house. I gave up on knitting. Years later I tried a new one. Also on the needles buried deep in my mom's house. I gave up again. I tried a third and just frogged it. Forget it. I just can't do the same thing over and over and over and over again. Fortunately at that point I made a hat and had the delight of FINISHING a project, which gave me just the taste I needed to become an addict. That's what scarves are, though. Just boring repetitions. There aren't any heels or toes or increasing or decreasing in scarves, or even any sleeves or buttonholes or anything. Even the pretty lacy ones, it's just the same damn thing over and over. When I'm teaching people to knit they always say they should probably start with a scarf, but I am of the belief that scarves are TERRIBLE projects to begin on. If you're learning a new skill, you want to have something to show for it pretty quickly. You don't want to pick up your needles for the first time and then NEVER GET TO THE END. Start with a hat. Or a dishtowel if you seriously need to do something square. Do something that makes you feel smart, because we seasoned knitters know, it's all just the same two stitches over and over again, and nothing is ever as complicated as it seems.

Anyway. So it goes. I hate scarves.

Well lo and behold, look at what I just finished:

It's a scarf. It's a fucking scarf! Not only is it a scarf it's a LONG scarf. It's probably about 10 feet long? It's two ENTIRE skeins of Blue Moon Socks that Rock in Jade and, um, I... don't know. Something darker that goes with Jade. That's about 700 yards, Kyle. I knit the Chevron Scarf from LMKG. I was INTERESTED in this scarf THE ENTIRE WAY DOWN. In fact, I was sad to cast off! WTH!!!



I KNIT A SWEATER! It FITS me, and is long enough and actually looks awesome. I freakin' LOVE it and am totally not treating it as delicately as I should, but instead wearing it whenever I possibly can. The yarn is a gorgeous, amazingly soft superwash wool DK weight and was bought on our honeymoon to Prince Edward Island at an AWESOME place called Belfast Mini-Mills, which was about a 5 minute drive from the beach house we rented. I loved this burnt orange color they had, but this blue just kind of caught my eye. It was the color of the island, it reminded me of the Northumberland Strait, so I just had to get it. So this is my honeymoon sweater. :) The pattern is Wicked, the worsted weight version, and it was cardiganized based on FlintKnit's awesome instructions. I made the sleeves a lot longer and used coconut buttons. (If I had to do it over again I'd cast on way fewer stitches and just allot more of them for the body, which turned out fine, and fewer for the sleeves, which were FRICKIN' HUGE. I ended up just tapering them down, which works well enough. The sweater is built a little more like a sweatshirt because of those arms, but that's okay with me.)

So there it is. My last two projects. A sweater and a scarf. Will wonders never cease...

January 18, 2010

1 + 1 = Crusty, Awesome Bread

Last Christmas, as in, Christmas 2008, I asked for and received a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

I was so excited, but in reading it I realized that I apparently needed a pizza stone or dutch oven to bake the bread in, neither of which I had. A regular loaf pan wouldn't work. I put that feather in my cap, put the book on the shelf for when I could get me a pizza stone, then somewhere around 2 months later decided to plan a wedding and forgot entirely about the whole thing.

Last weekend, as in, January 10, I bought a pizza stone, having forgotten all about the book.

Yesterday I realized that I have everything I need to make 5 minute Artisan Bread, so this morning, I woke up, took the dog for a snowy, haily, slushy walk, then came in and mixed up the dough. It rose for 3 hours and it is now in the fridge, hopefully getting MUCH less sticky. In a few hours I will bake some bread! :)

ETA: I would have taken a picture to post here, but I sliced into it too fast, and now there's only crumbs. :D

January 14, 2010


Susan, I swear I'm not copying your awesome Probably Something You Would Like idea here. Well, I kind of am (and if you read this you'll no doubt notice things that you've posted before), but I'm also totally stealing crush party's idea... It just never occurred to me to keep track of all the random things I find and love in online storage. Until now I've just had cluttered bookmark bars...

So, this Color-In Wallpaper is wicked cool:

I love these lists, (and I love that there are more than one!) about my beloved home state of New Hampshire.

100 Things You Should Do To Know the Real New Hampshire (I've done 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 24, 25 (ugh!), 26 (again, ugh!), 32 (but on Ossipee, not Grafton), 35, not 41 but Chocorua, 42, 43, 46, 48, 57, 60, 72 (well, I've seen it, I haven't matched any wits), 78 (only one church, though), 79, 83, 86 (possibly my most random one! They are twins in their, I don't know, 60s? who I used to serve coffee to when I worked at BNG in Durham, and who I later found out went to my summer camp back when it allowed boys, and came back to sing on a CD camp made of our classic camp songs. Which, by the way, was recorded and mixed by the same guy who we worked with in my a cappella group in college. It made me realize what a small state NH really is. :), 90, 91

101+ Things to do in NH
A few are repeats, but my list includes: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31 (we got married on Lake Ossipee!), 33, 35, 38, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 53, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 73, 75, 84, 86, 88?, 92, 97, 100, 102, 103

These lists make me realize how connected I am to lovely New Hampshire. :)

I find this to be helpful, and it makes me want to dye with Kool Aid again!

One of the highlights of my honeymoon was finding that Lime Green Kool Aid is sold in stores there. Here it's hard to find. I stocked up (though now I can't find it!)

Oliver + S kids clothes make me want to have a baby girl RIGHT NOW, just so I can start making her adorable clothes! :)

My absolute favorite fiber dyer is The Yarn Wench. She gets the colors Just Right. :) She updates her stock every week or so, and check it out any given week, it's full of amazing goodies that I could easily blow my entire paycheck on.

I've never been one of these Fairy People. You know who you are. Actually, you're probably Faerie People. I kind of get it, faeries are pretty and fun, but some people are REALLY into it. Having said that, I think if I do have little girls I will TOTALLY use them as my excuse to make these!

Craftster tutorial here.

January 12, 2010

things i'm in love with right now

To kinda take a page out of my friend Susan's book at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm, here are some things that I am in love with right now.

This is my newest love. "New" as in "I discovered it roughly 15 minutes ago." A photo blog called crush party. This brilliant woman does the kind of thing I do- instead of taking her own pictures (or perhaps she does, I'm new to her, but I do not), she copies photos she loves and posts them on her blog. I've always copied photos I loved, but it never occurred to me to post them on a blog.

Here are a few of my favorites from the first 3 pages (as of today) of her blog:

My brand new Vinturi Wine Aerator

My also brand new pizza stone. (I did a little registry-finishing this weekend at Crate and Barrel) I bought it, went straight home, and my friend Betsey and I immediately got to work drinking some aerated wine and making a pizza. Forgive the crappy photo, it was taken on my iPhone:

We didn't know what we were doing, and we figured we might come up with some pretty good results that way. Turns out, we did. This is wheat crust from Trader Joe's, brushed with olive oil, then topped with sliced pear, prosciutto, basil, and gorgonzola. It smelled ridiculous, but was WAY too salty (lesson learned regarding prosciutto and gorgonzola) so we drizzled the baked pizza with honey and it was gorgeous.

I love this book, Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke, also introduced to me by Susan.

It has inspired me to go out and make a quilt, something I haven't done for YEARS and years. I went to JoAnns and bought way too many fabrics in competing patterns, and I need to find a way to ground it a little (I have some ideas) but for now, this is the (very busy) gist of it. Again, iPhone photo, so the colors aren't quite right.

I'm just really into purple, turquoise and green right now, I guess.

Speaking of quilts, Ken and I went to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA on Jan 2, and I fell in love with this quilt

These gnomes

From left to right we have Joseph, Norman and George. All three were needlefelted. I made Joseph and George, and Betsey made Norm. At first, George was David the Gnome, but Ken was fiercely jealous of him. It bordered on frightening. However then Ken said "wait, actually, he looks like a George," and I actually agreed, so George was born and Ken loves George.

Whoops, George got cut off. That's okay, he was playing with my webcam a few weeks ago:

And finally, two things I am in love with in one picture. The vases (part of my little Crate and Barrel trip) which were like $3 each, and the sunflowers, which my darling husband brought home for me last night.