[misc] TGIF

So happy it's Friday. This week has been a sucky- I'm still getting over my cold so I've been run down and sleeping poorly. And the literal turd-cherry on top of it all is finding that one of the cat's pooped on the bed. I assume it was retribution for either (a) running out of dry food, or (b) accidentally rolling Murderface off the bed in the middle of the night. 

Anyway. I have grand plans for tomorrow. The house is still rather stark and I finally ordered window coverings- blinds, curtains, scarf valances and sashes. Imma charge the dill up tonight and spend the day FINALLY adding some color around the house.

Also, I just learned that you can make your own homemade dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk. I'm going to try the overnight crock pot method and then make ice cream from it. 

What else? Some blocking (I knit a bandana cowl for Dollar with handspun), spinning... some weeding, moving stones, pictures around the house...

Are you going to help with chores this weekend, Banana?


Chores. You know what chores are. It's stuff you have to do... Nevermind. You just nap all day.


[misc] 2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival

Despite being sick, I went to the 2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival this past Saturday with my sister. Like I'm going to let a cold and fatigue and dizziness stop me. It was in a new location this year- Deerfield Fairgrounds. 

2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival

The festival is probably an extra 30 minutes away now, but I think it's a better space. It seems like the vendors had more room. 

2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival

2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival

There were lots of cute sheep and aplacas and bunnies.

2012 NH Sheep and Wool Festival

Once I got home, I pulled out all the fiber that I've acquired over the last couple years (from past VT Sheep and Wool Festivals, the Wild and Wooly Weekend in Proctorsville, VT, the Franklin County Fiber Twist at Yankee Candle in MA last fall, fiber that I've taken from my sister because she wasn't spinning it) and took pictures to add to my stash on Ravelry.

So much to spin

I better get spinning.


[jewelry] More Nail Polish Pendants

Finished up the 2nd series of nail polish pendants:

More nail polish pendants

It's a little hard to tell how the silver one on the end looks in real life, but here's a better shot:

More nail polish pendants

It's silver hex glitter with silver chrome. It looks like the moon to me!

The rest of the round ones are color-changing depending on what angle you're looking at them.

More nail polish pendants

More nail polish pendants

I also did more square ones:

More nail polish pendants

More nail polish pendants

Many of the other ones that I did were given away but I'm definitely hanging on to these for Christmas presents.

Here are the first ones that I made.


[misc] Double Rainbow

Rainbows are awesome. Every time it's raining and still sunny, I go outside to look for a rainbow. And I always see one. This time, I saw a double rainbow:

Double Rainbow

Double rainbow! All the way! Across the sky! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!

Double Rainbow

It was still raining a bit while I was walking around, taking pictures. The deck door was locked then I wanted to come back in but I saw Dollar napping on the couch. I ran the door bell and he sleepily got up and unlocked the door. I said, "Look at the rainbow! It's a double rainbow!" He nodded without looking and said, "Wow. I don't know when the last time was that I saw a double rainbow." And shuffled back to the couch and went back to sleep. I stood there, like 'Well, you could look out the window and see one. Now.'

I think he's just not as into rainbows as I am. And I'm going to have to get this cross-stitch pattern.


[crochet] Curtain Progress

Progress is being made on the filet crochet curtain panel:

Filet Crochet Curtain

Unfortunately, I held it up against the window that I want to cover and it's not quite wide enough to work as a single panel. So I think I will have to make two. Which is kind of demoralizing but I decided to only work to halfway up the height of the window. So two panels at half the height is like the same amount of work as one panel going all the way up. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

Edited 15 minutes later to add:

Nope. I'm going to block the ever-loving **** out of this to make it wide enough. I feel like I've already put 30 hours of work into this and I can't abide the thought of needing to make another back-to-back.


[cooking] Ramping down

I picked the last ramps of the season with my sister on Sunday. The leaves are a little tougher and starting to get streaked with yellow. I've given lots of ramps away and worked on different ways of preserving them for months of enjoyment.

Ramp compound butter:

Ramp Compound Butter

I set out two sticks of butter to soften. In a small food processor, I minced 5 whole ramps (bulbs and leaves) with the juice of half of a lemon. Then mixed it all together, rolled into logs and put into the freezer. Then I'll just cut rounds when I need them. Although I can clearly see a a day in the future when I simply take out a whole log to thaw and use it to make awesome garlic bread. This stuff smeared on toasted bread = heaven. 

Ramp pesto:

Ramp Pesto

Last year I made pesto with just ramps. It was a little too pungent, so this year I used 60% ramps, 40% parsley. Tastes so much better. I added toasted walnuts, parm cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice. I like to freeze it in an ice cube tray because I'm the only one in the house that eats pesto, so it's easy for me to take out a cube and use it for my pasta.

And the coup de grace: Picked Ramps:

Pickled Ramps

I used this recipe from Steamy Kitchen, which is based on a Momofuku recipe.

All the ingredients were already in my cupboard (sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, Korean crushed red pepper flakes) apart from the Shichimi Togarashi. I hit up both local asian food stores, asking for Japanese 7 Spice. I got a blank stare back and a question, "Chinese 5 Spice?" I went to try my luck at the Co-op. 

"You mean Chinese 5 Spice?" 

No. Japanese 7 Spice. (All this made me want to go around asking for fake spices- Korean 12 Spice... Chilean 1 Spice... Egyptian 45 Spice...)

Anyway, I sadly trudged to the spice section and forced my hand to take a jar of the McCormick Pickling Spice blend. Sad. I didn't really want to turn my ramps into dill pickles but if that's my lot in life, then... I guess... 

But wait. I went back to the same Co-op employee and asked if they carried soju. I drank a lot of soju in Korea years ago and I've been looking for it ever since- and I felt a sudden, intense desire to drink away my disappointment. The guy was probably wondering if I was simply there to ask him for obscure things that no one's ever heard of before. He said no to the soju BUT he had looked up Japanese 7 Spice on a store computer (which convinced me that he was, indeed, fact-checking the validity of my request) and found what 7 spices it was made of. And they had all those spices in bulk. He pulled them all for me and said I can just pour however much I wanted.

O. Muh. G. That's awesome. I needed hardly any of the spices, so it only came to something ridiculous like $1 to get it all. Seriously, I felt silly buying 4 cents of white sesame seeds, 5 cents of black sesame seeds, 14 cents of seaweed, etc. But. I just got a tablespoon or two of each.

Back at home, I used my mortar and pestle to grind them all together.

Pickled Ramps

I only used a couple tablespoons for the brine, so I'm storing the leftover 7 Spice in a jar.

The brine was easy to make and I put the ramps into a couple jars in the fridge. I might make some more and give a jar to my mom for mother's day. Because nothing says "I love and appreciate you, mom" like stinky, spicy, pickled, pungent ramps. ... Right? 


[knitting] Kindle Cover

I knit a little sleeping bag for my Kindle:

Kindle Kover

This is yarn that I spun in 2010!


This is why I want to knit 50% of all my projects with handspun this year. I have two gigantic bags at home with handspun yarn.

There was no pattern for this, just started with a few rows of garter stitch. Then for the main body I knit with 2 purl stitches at each edge. Then a ribbed top. I first used this with the knit side showing and purl seams along the edge. When I turned it inside out the weave in the yarn ends, I slipped in the Kindle and it fits MUCH better inside-out:

Kindle Kover

The purl seams on the inside hug the edges of the Kindle, so the cover doesn't twist around at all.

Kindle Kover

The blues remind me of the ocean (the colorway is called Squall) and I was thinking about maybe sewing on some felt sea pieces- maybe some seaweed or fish or coral or something. Someday. But for now it's serving it's purpose.


[knitting] Holy Hand Grenade

It's done! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch:

Holy Hand Grenade

I would like to do more (in particular- sew some pearls on) but I'm calling this done so it's not hanging over my head anymore.

The pattern is free on Ravelry: Holy Hand Grenade. I knit this using gold and silver yarn that I bought at White River Yarns. 

Holy Hand Grenade

The pin is removable- which isn't how the pattern is written but I felt that a removable pin was a must:

Holy Hand Grenade

It's an extra large safety pin that I sewed the cross to. You need to have a removable pin so that you can pull it, count to three (One... Two... FIVE!) and throw it at whatever killer rabbit is attacking you.

The chest is an unfinished box that I bought at Michael's and stained in a dark walnut color. I also glued a few gold squares around the lock and brass circles to the ends:

Holy Hand Grenade

Just to dress up the box a bit.

The red fabric is a crushed panne that I got a Joann's. I was prepared to spend way to much on a pure, rich velvet but saw a little roll of red in the remnants bin- and it was perfect. And $2.79.

Holy Hand Grenade

And I got red flat-backed rhinestones and slightly smaller clear ones to glue all around the silver straps. I used E-6000 glue, which is supposed to be good for fabric, wood, metal, anything and dries to a clear rubber. The rhinestones are holding on really well.

So. Done. Love it. Nailed it. Hope I don't ever have to use it ;)


[misc] Penny Friday


TGIF. I'm going to spend the weekend knitting, crocheting and cooking. And picking more ramps. 


[cooking] Saving scallions

I saw a cute tip on Pinterest for saving scallions. Slice them up, put them into an empty water bottle and put them into the freezer. 


Scallions- ready for freezer

Then simply shake out what you need, when you need it. Miso soup. Stir fry. Dipping sauce for dumplings. Salsas. Chicken salad. Anything!

Next time I'll slice the scallions on a bias to make them extra pretty. And I'll use a bottle with a wider mouth- getting the scallions into this bottle was a little frustrating.


[cooking] Rampapalooza

Monday afternoon I hiked up an old trail behind my house, hoping to find ramps that my neighbor told me about last year. I found it!



It wasn't a solid field of ramps, like I've seen in some pictures online, but patches here and there. I saw a patch... took a couple steps... saw another patch... took a few more steps... saw more ramps... 


It was actually much easier to pick this way- I could squat, dig, pop out the bulbs I wanted and move to the next patch without stepping on any plants. Because I'm taking the bulb, there is a danger of over-harvesting and preventing new growth, so if there was a root with 5 plants growing up, I would take 2 and move to the next.

These bulbs were very easy to pop out. I stripped the dirtiest exterior skin off, to reveal a pretty white bulb:


This made clean-up much easier when I got them all back to the kitchen. After much washing and cleaning, I had:



Some bulbs are quite large- nearly the size of a quarter in width- but most averaged dime-size in width. I'm giving most of these to friends and co-workers. If the weather's nice this weekend, I think I'll head back up the hill and pick a few more.

My plans for the ramps are:

Ramp butter with the greens
Ramp pesto with the greens
Pickled ramps with the bulbs
Flatbread with whole ramps


[art] Winner winner!

Here's the instructor's painting that I won at the end of my Joy of Painting class:


Not quite as good as mine, but I'll take it ;) I need to find some frames to get these works of art up on the walls asap.