Thursday

[cooking] Date Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel cookies. Date, raisin, pecan filling. 🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀 #christmascookies #cookies #pinwheelcookies #baking #datepinwheelcookies



I didn't have quite enough dates, so I supplemented with some raisins. I boiled them with water and sugar. Once that reduced, I blended it with pecans in a mini food processor until it was a nice spreadable paste. 

I rolled out the dough, spread the paste, rolled it up and left the log in the fridge for a couple days. I used a bench scrapper to do the slicing. 

I've never made these before and I'm really thrilled with how they turned out. They look so pretty and they taste amazing. AMAZING. One of my Top 5 favorite cookies now. I'm afraid I'll never try to make these cookies again because they came out so awesome this time, surely I won't be able to get it right a 2nd time and they'll always be a disappointing reminder of these perfect ones.

Gotta come up with couple more cookies. Chocolate something. And almond something. Then I can start bringing them to get-togethers and stuffing the neighbors' mailboxes.

Wednesday

[crafts] Christmas ornament

After seeing a picture online, I made a new ornament for the tree:

Just made a new ornament from our favorite Christmas movie. #christmasornaments #diehard #comeouttothecoastwellgettogetherhaveafewlaughs

Die Hard is our favorite Christmas movie. It was easy enough to make this just from seeing an image: print out a wallet-sized image of McClane in the heating duct, measure size, cut card stock to dimensions, cover card stock with tin foil (shiny side out), tape it all together.

I love it!

Tuesday

[knitting] Slow socks

I've been taking my time, working on a pair of socks for myself:

Slow knitting... 🐢 #socknitting #knitting #twistedstitches

The yarn is by Fiber Stash and the colorway is Tardis Blue. I am so in love with this pattern. It's free on Ravelry and called Lissajous Figures. Not sure what that meant so I googled it and Merriam-Webster says:

Definition of Lissajous figure 
: any of an infinite variety of curves formed by combining two mutually perpendicular simple harmonic motions, commonly exhibited by the oscilloscope, and used in studying frequency, amplitude, and phrase relations of harmonic variables

I can definitely see that happening as the pattern progresses and the paths of the twisted stitches cross or approach/repel.

I'm to the heel flap of the first sock and I started the cuff for the second last night. I'm working on two circular needles since DPNs weren't working (causing loose stitches between needles that interrupted the design). Maybe I'll learn magic loop. Maybe I'll learn two-at-a-time magic loop. Maybe over the Christmas vacation...

Monday

[cooking] Baking Weekend

Made some brownies this weekend:

Snowflake brownies. ❄️🍫 #baking #brownies #nordicware #snowflakebrownies

I used this recipe, which is easy to mix by hand in one bowl. I baked the brownies in a 6-cup snowflake pan by Nordic Ware. I am a Nordic Ware devotee. I've used their pans for a butterfly cake, a castle, a house, all kinds of round bundts. I have a new yule log pan I want to try next. The results are always impressive- and it's just the pan that does all the work! The cast aluminium material is thick and heavy- it cooks really evenly. I've never floured the inside of the pans-  just spray with food release- and haven't had an issue with a cake sticking to the inside.

I'm going to start sewing some drawstring muslin bags to keep the pans in. They're starting to stack up in the cupboards and I want to keep the insides from scratching.

I started bringing together doughs for Christmas cookies. Some date/raisin pinwheels, benne wafers and these cran-orange icebox cookies:

Cranberry orange icebox cookies

Lastly, some pizza for the football game:

🏈🍕 Let’s goooooooo!

It's been very carb-y and sugar-y around the house...

Friday

[knitting] Handmade gifts

All the handmade Christmas gifts spread out before wrapping:

Handknit gifts thus far. Time to get wrapping. 🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 #knitting

And one "Get off the table, Santana!" picture:

Santana, get off the table!!

Might rummage around the stash a bit this weekend for a few more last minute gifts.

###

TGIF. Going to do some baking this weekend- I have a couple new bundt pans I want to try out. Maybe start some Christmas cookies. Run errands around the Upper Valley. Lots of football will be on- Saturday NFL games start tomorrow.

I don't think it has gotten above freezing in two weeks. Last night I was huddled on the couch, under a blanket, wearing a cowl and wrapped in a large shawl, knit slippers on my feet, scootching the cats closer to me and thinking, "This must be what living in Siberia is like." And then I went to Instagram and started browsing Siberia/Russia images to make myself feel warmer.

Thursday

[knitting] Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Made a couple quick garter stitch slippers last weekend:

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

I've got to make a couple passes with a lint roller over these before wrapping. Penny's immediately on my lap as soon as I sit down to knit and our arrangement has been: you can sit here as long as you don't mind me draping yarn on you, resting my project on you, accidentally poking you with needles, dropping stitch markers on you and then feeling around your side, trying to get the stitch marker back, etc etc etc. No matter what I do, Penny puts up with it in order to stay on my lap. I will say that I sit cross-legged and make a nice, tight little hammock for her between my knees with a fleece blanket- it's pretty sweet. But it means her white fur gets into everything I'm making.

Anyway, the pattern is Simple Garter Stitch Slippers and it was a great stash project using leftover sock yarn, held double. I ran out of the green and had to finish the toes in solid black. 


Wednesday

[knitting] Birthday, I mean, Christmas socks

In mid/late November, I made three pairs of socks for Dollar's birthday. But I got a package of Army surplus socks at the Darn Tough sale and gave those to him for his birthday instead. (Which meant I could save the handknit worsted socks for Christmas!)

First pair:

Black socks

Solid black. Used Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted- two balls (new). 

Next pair:

Worsted socks

Patchwork using wool/acrylic leftovers from past socks like Lion Brand Wool Ease and Plymouth Encore.

Last pair:

Worsted socks

I particularly love how this pair turned out. Still acrylic/wool but I alternated grey with a marl and the yarns really worked well together. Ran out of yarn at the end and had to do red toes.

###

I did wind some sock yarn and start a pair of fingering-weight socks for myself. I think over the past two nights, I've only done 12 rounds. The progress is so slow and I couldn't be happier. It's very relaxing to (a) work on something for myself, and (b) not be thinking "OMG HURRY UP GET THIS DONE ASAP SO YOU CAN DO THE NEXT THING". It's sooooo nice. And the yarn I'm using is a delight. 

Tuesday

[knitting] Fingerless Mitts

I am way behind on pictures of all the quick holiday gifts I've been making. Some fingerless mitts:

Stash busting fingerless mitts. #knitting #fingerlessmitts

Pattern is Easy Fingerless Mitts (Rav link). Good stash busting project. I dug around for some misc worsted-weight-looking yarn, without labels, leftovers from this and that. The pattern is worked from the cuff up and it's easy to have both mitts going at the same time (on two sets of DPNs), working from both ends of the ball to use up every last inch of yarn.

Monday

[quilting] Crumb Quilt Top Complete

Finished the little crumb quilt top last week:

Crumb quilt.

Santana for scale:

Crumb Quilt

This week, I've really got to sort out backing and binding fabric- and bring it to the quilt shop to be finished.

###

Had a good weekend apart from a bit of food poisoning yesterday. I suspect it was a lemon meringue pie that I made- the filling didn't set up properly, so maybe it was undercooked eggs.

I was able to crank out a couple pairs of slippers this weekend and I'm ready to be done knitting for the holidays. I've been looking at three pretty skeins of sock yarns that I want to wind and knit into socks for myself. It feels like the temperature hasn't gotten above freezing for the past two weeks and I want some new bed socks.

I'm just going to make some hats for nephews and their girlfriends and maybe a few more small things... then it's just knitting for me!

Friday

[cooking] Challah

Made a challah loaf this week:

#challah ready for 2nd rise.

I used this recipe. I made it once in January of this year as part of King Arthur Flour's Bakealong. This month, braided bread is the challenge in the Cooking From Scratch group on Ravelry, so... challah back.

Baked:

#challah 🍞

I'm kind of in love with braided bread right now. My loaf is six stands and I'm thinking next time, I'll roll all the ends together to make one long strand and then finger crochet the dough into a wreath. That would be so cuuuuuute! 

###

TGIF. I'm at a point in knitting where I'm done with everything on my To Do list. Got to focus on sewing quilt pieces now.

We have our first holiday party this Sunday with family. I'm planning on making a lemon meringue pie. I've never made one before but I'm sure it will be fiiiiiiiiiiiine. Probably.


Thursday

[knitting] Green Cabled Hats

Made a trio of cabled hats:

Christmas knitting in full swing. #knitting #hatknitting #cableknitting

All three are with worsted weight wool, US 7 needles and a cast on of 96 stitches. They start with k2p2 and move on to cable work. No patterns for the two on the left but the one on the right is the Allen Hat (rav link). 

Good stash-busting; I dug through the stash for misc green yarns. These will be gifts.

###

Had an unexpected day off yesterday so I made some challah bread in the morning, finished up some knitting projects and took pictures, finished sewing the little crumb quilt top, went down to King Arthur Flour to make some cinnamon rolls for charity, came home and made cinnamon rolls for Dollar's band practice, cleaned out the fridge and threw away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers (don't you judge me). It was a full day. 

Tuesday

[quilting] Crumb Quilting

Last week I was working on squares for a little quilt:

Practicing crumb quilting...


I'm working on a large quilt for a friend and I have tons of small, irregularly shaped scraps. I want to sew them together randomly to make "crumb" squares. I pulled out some other fabric from the stash to practice on. 

#quilting

I sewed pieces together with no real plan in mind, I sliced and diced and sewed pieces together again:

Two 9.5 inch crumb squares. Hopefully I can make eleven more for a small quilt. #quilting #crumbquilting

The goal was to make 9.5 inch squares, like the two on the left in the above picture. 

I did get nine squares finished- but the last two have rather small sliver pieces along the edges- as I ran out of fabric and tried to add on thin pieces that I had cut away from other squares. In the end, there was more waste fabric than I would have liked and a lot of seams on the wrong side. But I'll add some sashing and (hopefully) bring it to the quilt shop this weekend. 

And now I have a better idea how to manage the small "crumbs" for the big quilt I'm working on.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

You know it's cold out when the cats deign to touch one another while napping:

Penny and Murderface

We ran all our errands on Saturday morning and brought home a Christmas tree. Decorated on Sunday during football commercial breaks.

🎄 Now I’m feeling Christmasy. #christmastree

I'm working on green skull caps with a skull stitch marker:

Cabled skull cap

These hats will be for one group of band members. For the other group: fingerless mitts. Both projects are using up a lot of stash yarn, which is awesome. (My internal yarn-o-meter is creeping towards "IT'S OKAY TO BUY MORE YARN NOW" the more yarn I use up... but I'll wait until after the holidays are over.)

For local people, King Arthur Flour has posted their free Bake for Good classes. Sign up! The classes are fun and educational- and free!

I did hit the kimchi pretty hard this weekend. Hard not to do with yummy, fresh kimchi in the fridge. Feeling a little bad for Dollar, I made a big pot of beef stew yesterday. 

Friday

[knitting] Vermont Sweater

Made a new sweater for my niece:

Green Raglan

I found two balls of green Valley Yarns Haydenville in my machine-wash, worsted yarn stash (which I normally use for socks). I opted to make a sweater instead with every last inch of the yarn. Rav link to the free sweater pattern.

I used the same yarn and pattern earlier in the year and liked the result. That was a 2T size and I did the 4T size this time (nearly the same stitch counts- just larger needles).

The collar:

Toddler Green Raglan

I wait until I split for the sleeves, then pick up stitches around the neckband. Knit a couple inches of k1p1 ribbing, cast off leaving a long tail, then fold over and sew down to the inside. It's so stretchy and squooshy. I love it.

Then I work on the main body to a good length and bind off. With a couple sets of DPNs, I do both sleeves at the same time from either end of the yarn ball, so I can use it all up. I only had a couple yards leftover.

The sweater seems a little plain and I since was adding wooden tags to things left and right, I sewed one on to this:

Toddler Green Raglan

Close-up:

Wooden tag <3 VT

Awww. Vermont is the Green Mountain State, so this is a cute little Vermont green sweater now.

###

TGIF. I have plans to get our Christmas tree tomorrow. We didn't have one last year and I missed it. Also, things are appropriately snowy/wintery around here now.

I'm picking up some new kimchi from my mom after work- I can't wait. I'm nearly done with the last batch and made a big pot of kimchi jjigae last night to use a lot up. There's still some kimchi left and it's sour, so I might make some fried rice, pajeon and buns this weekend. Kimchi weekend, kimchi weekend, kimchi weekend.

Thursday

[knitting] Sparkle pompom hat

I made a quick ribbed hat:

Ribbed hat

The yarn is Kollage Glisten- a nice blend of alpaca, silk and sparkle. It is quite sparkly in direct sunlight. I added a faux fur pompom and wooden "Made in Vermont" tag. Another hat I plan to give as a gift.

###

Worked on some quilting last night. Completed nine 9.5 inch squares using scraps and small pieces of fabric. Still have to add some sashing, borders, find some backing fabric- get everything to the quilt shop.

Plugging away on a cabled hat and I queued about a dozen more free patterns from Rav. I think over Christmas break, once all the gift knitting is done, I'm going to knit a sweater for myself.

Wednesday

[knitting] Traveling Cable Hat - decorated

I added a couple accessories to the grey traveling cable hat:

Traveling Cable Hat

A faux fur pompom (ordered a variety from online- this one matches well!) and a wooden "Made in Vermont" tag (by Katrinkles).

Traveling Cable Hat

I bought a few wooden tags at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival and I should have gotten a couple dozen. They are sooooo adorable.

Traveling Cable Hat

A little jealous to be giving this one away but... I can make another ;)

###

Weather here is a little insane:

Not even December and I’m so over the snow already.

I did try to leave but there were trees down across the road. Someone is getting a chainsaw for Christmas.

I'm working on a cabled hat and some quilting projects. At this point I'm not sure I'll be able to get what I want to Barnyard Quilting in time to get things finished before Christmas. I've got to get cranking.

Monday

[misc] Thanksgiving

Had a small family Thanksgiving meal this year. My mom's turkey (22 lb):

22lb turkey

It was brined and absolutely delicious. She also had the cuuuuutest little rice cooker:

Littlest rice cooker

Not much bigger than a can of cranberry sauce. She said it doesn't cook rice very good, though, so she was using it for:

Littlest rice cooker

Keeping spinach artichoke dip hot! It was perfect!

This year we had turkey, squash, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peas/onions, gravy, stuffed shrimp, cranberry sauce, rolls. I made an apple pie in the morning to bring down:

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

I've made a lot of apple pies and I think this one was the best one ever. It was so good. I normally put a pizza pan under the pie tin to catch any filling that might boil over. It never has boiled over (knock on wood) so I threw caution to the wind and baked the pie without *anything* underneath it. I think the bottom crust cooked perfectly this time.

Thankfully the pie was pretty much the only cooking I did over the holiday. I had lots of Thanksgiving leftovers to reheat for days. And Saturday evening we had dinner at Dollar's mom's for his birthday, so no cooking and more leftovers to bring home. Which afforded me lots of knitting time. I even got the sewing machine back out. It was a very craft-productive vacation.

Tuesday

[knitting] Traveling Cable Hats

I completed a new cabled hat:

💙 #travelingcablehat #purlsoho #knitting #knittingcables #knithat #hatknitting

The pattern is free from Purl Soho and it's called Traveling Cable Hat. The adult size makes a pretty deep hat, so take care with regards to how much ribbing for the brim you do.

The yarn is Sabine by Juniper Moon Farm (discontinued). It's a blend of 40% cotton, 30% merino and 30% llama. It's a light worsted weight and a little... crispy? Not particularly bouncy because of the cotton content but the llama gives it a bit of a halo and I think this is the type of yarn that will only get softer and nicer over time and the more the hat is worn.

So once I had the pattern down, I did another:

So nice, I had to make it twice. #travelingcablehat #knitting #knittinghat #purlsoho #cableknitting

The yarn is March Hare by Wonderland Yarn. It's 100% superwash merino, dyed by Frabjous Fibers, and the colorway is Tea Tray. This is the most sqooshilicious yarn I've used in a looooong time. It was pure joy to knit with. It made me realize that I usually only work with workhorse and economical yarns. I was knitting with this yarn like, "Oh my god, are there people that knit like this allllllll the time?"

Not that I have a bad time knitting with my frugal yarn- I (usually) always love whatever I make. But this yarn was like sleeping on silk sheets or eating caviar or hunting and killing a poor person for sport. You know, stuff rich people do.

But I'm not rich and I'll stick to my stashed pauper yarn. But I am for sure going to pick up another skein of this yarn when I run across it.

Monday

[vermont] Cosy

Things are pretty cold and snowy now. On Nov. 12:

Nov 12 - snow

More snow fell a few days later. Over the weekend, snowed in, I survived on kimchi jjigae:

Snow day jjigae. ❄️🍲❄️ #kimchijjigae

And cuddles:

Murderface keeping me warm while knitting last night.

I've been knitting like crazy. I dropped the b-day socks to work on a new sweater for my niece- which I completed 99% of in just two days. Just have to finish the sleeve cuffs, then back to the socks... then... stuff for the band members? 

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week and more days off for knitting. Maybe (hopefully) sewing.

I'm making an apple pie to bring to my mom's for Thanksgiving and I think I'm going to add some grated gjetost to the crust. I got a block of ski queen to try for the first time and it's interesting. But I'm looking for ways to use it up.

I plan on bringing some kale dip, as well. I made it last weekend, based on this recipe from Penzey's:

Berbere toasts

I used kale and cheddar. Rather than mix it all up, spread on toast and broil; I mixed it all up, put into a small casserole dish and baked. Served with small toast, it was a nice, green, savory, spicy dip.

Oh, and I went to the annual Cabot Hosiery/Darn Tough sock sale for the first time ever on Sunday morning. It was good- got there just after 8:30 am and there was no waiting/no line/not too crowded. I hope everyone wants socks for Christmas, because that's what everyone's getting. 

Wednesday

[cooking] Aquafaba

One thing I've wanted to try for a long time is aquafaba. Literally, bean water. It's the liquid you drain from a can of garbanzo beans. You can whip it up into fluffy (vegan!) meringue. Just look:

Aquafaba meringue

I whipped it in the stand mixer with cream of tartar for stability. After it reached the stiff peaks stage, I incrementally added maple sugar and almond extract. Dolloped onto a baking sheet:

Aquafaba foam

Baked at 250F for one hour:

After baking

Yeeeahhhhhh. Not so awesome. The foam was tasty so I think next time I'll stir in some melted chocolate at the very end, refrigerate and call it mousse. I assume my maple sugar may have has something to do with the poor baking but the only other sugar I have is brown (would that have been okay?) or raw (too coarse).

The actual chickpeas I seasoned and roasted in the oven, in the hopes for a crispy crunchy snack. The beans never got crunchy and ended up not-quite-soft, not-quite-chewy. I had to throw them out. It was a bad weekend for chickpeas in my house.

###

I did a lot of other cooking over the long weekend and the rest of it went much better! More pics this week.

I did a ton of knitting- two hats done. I finished the worsted socks and started another. 

We've got lots of new snow and it looks like it's not going anywhere so... yay, winter. 

Friday

[misc] TGIF Penny

Aww, Penny has been featured so much this week. Tucked in on Monday. With the teddy bears on Tuesday. With the octopus on Wednesday. Now on Friday.

🐱#catsofinstagram

I've started listening to podcasts in my craft room on Wednesday nights (band practice has moved to our basement for the winter- they practice right under the living room so it's too noisy to watch anything on the TV) and Penny eventually comes to keep me company in the chaise lounge.

Still working on the worsted socks (at the toe of sock #1- ohhhh these worsted socks go so fast!) and I started the cable portion of a hat. I found a couple balls of machine washable yarn in the worsted-sock-yarn stash that I think I'm going to used for a toddler sweater instead.

I finally visited a new(ish) local spice shop called Little Istanbul in White River Junction. I've followed Sirali Kebap for a while on Instagram and I'm obsessed with their videos and food. They show you everything that goes into what they're making but don't explicitly state what all the spices are and I am so unfamiliar with this cuisine. I'm soooooo happy to have a spice shop to pick up pre-mixed spice blends. I picked up a few one-ounce baggies:

Finally visited the Turkish store

I plan to try some of these over the three-day weekend. I just have to find recipes... Three day weekeeeeeeeeeeend!!