[quilting] Castle design

Turned a crude sketch into a schematic for a Corps of Engineers Castle quilt block:

Turning a crude drawing into a quilt block schematic. This is going to be a big one. #quilting

Still trying to find enough of the right fabric based on what I have. It won't be the traditional white/red. Or even gold. And it will be a big block (18 in x 23 in). 


TGIF. I'm going to Netflix and chillllllll this weekend. Do a little quilting. Do a little knitting. Do a little cooking. I got a very special delivery from Penzeys last Friday:

Long work week made better by a Penzeys delivery. Lots of little freebies and for some reason a bunch of paper clips. 📎📎That’s cool, I need paper clips. @barbjstender I have your peppercorns. #penzeysspices

I ordered the guajillo peppers specifically for pozole (which I made on Monday and we've been eating all week) but I think I'll use a good portion this weekend to make some guajillo chili sauce... for enchiladas and burritos. I'm not sure why we've been on such a Mexican kick but I made tacos last Friday night (I knew the taco seasoning was coming so I got all the stuff ahead of time) and quesadillas the next night...

I'll start some no-knead dough to keep in the fridge. I'm interested in trying this English Muffin Toasting Bread. I still have a bit of clotted cream from last weekend left- Dollar had band practice at the house Monday night and I made sure they came up for a scone, clotted cream, raspberry jam break. They thankfully took care of most of it.


[cooking] Eggrolls

I rummaged around through my onion/garlic basket on the counter top to pull out the last of last year's CSA garlic. All the cloves were still firm and white and perfect:

Last of last summer's CSA garlic

I smash the cloves a bit, pop the skin off and mince them in a Magic Bullet in batches. Then I store in jars in the fridge:

Minced garlic

Then it's ready to go to throw a spoonful into a recipe here and there. With grocery store garlic, it often oxidizes in the jar and turns green. Still fine to use (and I do) but I've never had an issue with CSA local garlic going green. Interesting.

My standard eggroll filling:

Eggroll filling

Ground pork (cooked, drained). Spinach (cooked, moisture squeezed out). Tofu (half block resting on a few changes of paper towels to drain). Bean sprouts. Garlic. Scallions (half a bunch, sliced thin). Mix everything up by hand in a big bowl, add some ground red pepper and soy sauce. At this point, everything is cooked or safe to eat raw, so you can taste and adjust the seasoning. This filling is so tasty as is, it's easy to eat several spoonfuls. Leave some for the eggrolls!

All rolled up (I bring a tray of the wrappers, egg wash, filling, cookie sheet to hold the eggrolls, towel to cover the eggrolls as I roll so they don't dry out- to the living room and roll the eggrolls while we watch something on tv):

Eggrolls wrapped

All fried up:


My dipping sauce is soy sauce with a little bit of mirin and red peppers.

I'm not picky or finicky about a lot of food but buffet and restaurant eggrolls (or, god forbid, grocery store frozen... shudder) are something that I will not order and will not eat. They all legitimately taste like poison to me. You think I'm being dramatic but I'm not. After growing up with my mom's eggrolls (similar to above but she's got some of her own secret ingredients as well) and then making my own, I can't have any other. I refuse! I'll simply die if I have one Chinese take-out eggroll! (Okay, maybe I am being melodramatic now.)

This eggroll filling is pretty customizable. I had an extra pack of eggroll wrappers and did another round of eggrolls- this time with a ground turkey and baby kale filling. Again, soooo good. I'm surrounded by tofu haters (who knows why- they've never had it but decide ahead of time that they don't like it) and they love these eggrolls. You don't even notice the tofu in the filling and it adds protein.


[quilting] Dots and Waves

Sewed another quilt block this weekend:

Quilt Block

Cutting the dots was a bit fussy- trying to get them perfectly centered so the dots would still be whole after sewing.

Pieces in place:

Quilt Block

And sewn:

Quilt Block

I've started cutting the pieces for many blocks during the weekend and leaving them in piles on the cutting table with a label. Then it's much easier/faster to sew a block during a week night.


[knitting] Granny's Colorful Favourite

I finished a second sweater using the Granny's Favourite pattern:

Granny's Favourite #2

Yarn is Lana Grossa Gomitolo 200. Very colorful. I only ended up using about a quarter of the ball. It's a gigantic 200g ball of yarn.

Because the circumference of the arms is much smaller than the body, the colors stacked up in 1-row bands of color for the sleeves:

Granny's Favourite #2

After doing the first sleeve, I had to take yarn from the other end of the yarn ball to try and get the same pinks/greys (and have some semblance of symmetry to an already crazy-looking sweater). I knit a little swatch after, which I threw into the washing machine and dry to ensure that it wouldn't felt. It didn't- if anything the yarn just got more floofy and soft. I think I'll wash and dry the sweater before gifting. 


I did start a new little sweater last weekend with fingering-weight yarn but after spending a couple evenings on it and making good progress... I had to rip it out. It was coming out too large. I went up a needle size and tried to compensate by knitting a smaller size (12mo) but it was still coming out large enough for an adult. And the yarn was a little tweedy and ended up hiding some of the pattern.

So I went back to knitting Fox Paws. It will feel good to finally finish that. My knitting TV is a new Netflix documentary called Wild Wild Country. This doc is bonkers- how have I never heard of the Rajneesh commune in Oregon in the late 70's/early 80's? I'm only two episodes in and I have no idea where this is going to go...


[cooking] Cream Tea

I did it!

Cream Tea

Homemade clotted cream, raspberry jam and plain scones.

I followed this recipe for the clotted cream. I used a pint of cream from local Mcnamara Dairy (it just said pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized) and poured it into a round casserole dish so that it was about an inch deep. Left it in a 170F oven overnight. When I checked it in the morning, it looked a bit puffy/yellow on top. I immediately put it into the fridge. Several hours later, I lifted off the top layer in chunks and mixed it all up. 

Next time, I think I'll let it cool on the counter before putting it into the fridge. Maybe the hot to cold shock was what led to bits of butter in the cream? There are tiny yellow bits of butter in the cream that I can't stir smooth. And overall my cream is spreadable (if a bit crumbly) but definitely not dollop-able. Would want a softer texture next time.

Jam then cream, or cream then jam?

So which is better? Cream first or jam first? I was going into this mentally on Team Devon (cream first, of course) but the taste test put me on Team Cornwall. Cream on top. The cream hitting the roof of your mouth first is where it's at. 

As an added bonus to this experiment, I have two extra pints of raspberry jam processed and in the pantry.

Raspberry Jam

I had about 6 cups of frozen raspberries (picked last summer at a local farm) and made a quick, non-pectin jam that set up nicely. 

Cream tea forever! (Or at least until the cream and scones run out).


[knitting] Granny's Favourite Jewel

Speaking of that little blue sweater that Murderface was sitting on in the last post, it's this:

Granny's Favourite #1

Pattern: Granny's Favourite by Georgie Nicolson (rav link)

Yarn: Feza Yarns Jewel, teal, 2 balls

Size: 2 year old

Needles: US 6

Notes: The pattern isn't a freebie but it's written for 15 sizes. It's top-down, so you can play yarn chicken (and could make a short-sleeved bolero in a small size with not much yarn at all). I went full-sleeved and still have about half of a ball of yarn leftover.

The yarn has glitter to it, which is why it's called Jewel:

Granny's Favourite #1

It's really quite sparkly under artificial light. I love it. It is a birthday present for my niece's upcoming birthday. Just needs buttons.


TGIFFFFFFFFFF. Another 50 hour week (but really, I'm away from the house 13 hours a day with the commute and misc errands) complete. At least I'm raking in credit and comp time. I'm day dreaming about my upcoming week off at the end of May. Maybe I'll be able to splurge and take a little more than a week off (*gasp*).

Oh, and speaking of May, I've bought a ticket for DC for the first weekend in May to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival again this year. Last year was a little chilly/rainy. Will hopefully be better weather this year.

I've started another little sweater for my niece- this time with fingering-weight yarn. Will be slow-going but I think it's going to be soooooo cute when it's done. As long as it's not too big. I'm only one row into it and it looks big but the edge will be scalloped... hopefully it will work out. Otherwise I'll save it until next year's birthday.

Looking forward to home cooking this weekend. I don't have time to cook during these busy weeks and a couple of the nights I end up eating out with some of the students. I have a bottle of not-too-pasteurized cream in the fridge at home and I want to try making some clotted cream from it. And then make some raspberry jam from berries I picked last summer and still have in the freezer. And homemade plain scones. Then it's mutha-f'in scone, cream, jam time. Devonshire style. This is literally all I want to accomplish during the weekend. Besides sleeeeeeeeeeeeep.


[misc] Murderface Tuesday

My best good buddy:

Murderface ❤️❤️

Still the sweetest guy in the house:


Helps me with my knitting:


Snuggles in bed:


I've been knitting up a storm and finished two little toddler sweaters for my niece's upcoming birthday. I should go back to Fox Paws or the Lost in Time shawl... Buuuuut... I'll probably get distracted with some quilting... or embroidery... or cross-stitch. 


[quilting] House Block

The next quilt block that I wanted to make was a house. I spend a lot of time looking for a good combination based on the fabrics I have:

House block - finding the right fabrics

Once I like that, I cut:

House block - pieces cut

And then sew it all together and square it up:

House Block Complete

Hope to do another block this weekend...

I'm creating quite a pile of waste fabric and I might start sewing them randomly together to make crumb squares.


[cooking] Shepherd's Pi

For Pi Day (3.14), I made Shepherd's Pie:

Shepherd's Pi

This always feels like a labor intensive meal- and it's mostly the mashed potatoes' fault. Peel the potatoes, boil the potatoes, rice the potatoes... Okay, when I write it out it doesn't sounds so bad but... it is.

While the potatoes boil, I work on the meat- ground lamb browned, drained. Saute onion and garlic. Then add the meat back to the pan and add some other stuff (maybe a little tomato sauce, a few shakes of Worcester sauce, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper). Layer the meat into a casserole dish, then frozen corn (I don't even bother defrosting), then mashed potatoes. Then bake for 30 min.

Last night I evened out the mashed potato surface and piped the numbers on top as Dollar read them to me. The nozzle was a little narrow and the potatoes were a little thick- Dollar was watching me work and asked, "Should it be that difficult?" To which I replied, "IT'S MASHED POTATOES!" Next time I'll use a larger tip.

I wrote Pi out to 34 digits (hard to read, even after browning the top under the broiler for a few minutes). All the extra numbers made the pie more delicious:

Shepherd's Pi

And now leftovers for daaaaays.


[quilting] Country Charm - Done!

I dropped my finished quilt top at the quilter's in early Feb and just picked it up this past weekend:

Finished Quilt

I love it. I love love love love love it. One thing that I would have changed about the last quilt that I had professionally quilted is that the pattern was too large. (Having said that, I still love that quilt and have used it every day.) This time I specified that I wanted a tighter "all-over" design.

Finished Quilt

I'm glad I went with the brown border- I love how the quilt design stands out.

The backing (and binding) fabric is so nice:

Finished Quilt

The owner of Hen House Fabric in White River Junction picked it out and I immediately said yes. It's a sweet design and the leaves are red, blue and brown- all of which are the main colors used for the top. So perfect. She has such a good eye. 

Anyway, I brought the quilt home and had the audacity to put it on Santana's bed for pictures:

Finished Quilt

She obviously thinks this quilt is for her. I told her it wasn't.

Finished Quilt

It might get submitted to the fair this fall. It will prob get gifted at Christmas time. Either way, it's folded up and put away so it doesn't get covered in cat fur. 

Finished Quilt

Santana has vowed to find it.


[crochet] Spirit Mandalas

I wanted a quick project for leftover bits of yarn. I came across this Spirit Mandala pattern on Ravelry and thought it was a good match because (a) I have scraps of sock yarns, and (b) I have metal rings. The first one I made:

Crocheted mandala over a wire ring. #crochet #crochetmandala

Ooooo, so easy and quick. Kind of a lot of ends to sew in (which you should take care of before you permanently attach it to a ring with the last round of crocheting) but worth it.

I did another with some longer bits of gradient sock yarns:

Mandala no.2, this time with gradient leftover sock yarns (yay fewer ends to weave in). #crochet #crochetmandala #spiritmandala

Fewer ends to sew in because I let the colors transition over more rounds... but still nice.

The last one:

Mandala #3

This is my favorite.

These are small(ish), probably only 7 or 8 inches in diameter. While technically they are "stash busting" projects in that I used yarn from the stash, it ended up being VERY small amounts of yarn. No real dent to the stash but... I have three new pretty wall decorations.


[knitting] Totally Biased Nebula

Finished the Totally Biased cowl in striping sock yarn:

Totally Biased

Yarn: Berroco Nebula, one ball (Purchased at Sin City Yarn shop in Las Vegas!)

Needles: US 4

Notes: Cast on 60 stitches

My kitchener join between the blue and brown yarn is spot on:

Totally Biased

Blocked around a large cardboard box.

Totally Biased

Love how this turned out. Perfect width (after blocking) and circumference. I should have this pattern in a pair of needles all the time. I don't even stress about the purl ridges if I forget to do it until I'm halfway down the row- I just remember to do it the next time- I like the irregularity of the purl ridges then (and I'm not wasting time tinking back).

I'm going to dig in the stash and pile up "Yarn for Totally Biased Cowls" so I always have some ready to go.


[cooking] Ugly Delicious

Last weekend I watched all the episodes of David Chang's new Netflix show: Ugly Delicious. It put me in the mood to cook and I did a pot of braised Asian beef with cabbage over rice:

Braised beef and cabbage. Simmering liquid was puréed ginger, garlic, onion, blood orange juice, Chinese hot chili sauce, soy sauce. Watching #uglydelicious is putting me in the mood to cook.

I pureed some onion, orange juice, garlic, ginger, Chinese chili pepper sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil in a mini food processor. I browned the meat in a dutch oven and then simmered it in the puree for a couple hours. Added sliced cabbage and simmer around 20 min. Serve over rice, garnish with scallions. Easy, low effort, delicious- my favorite cooking combination.

What I really wanted to make was some fried chicken that I saw in one of the episodes. Chef Asha Gomez made Kerala Fried Chicken and based on the reactions of the guys who ate it, I was like, "No way it can be that good. No. Way." So I made it.

Kerala fried chicken. Saw Asha Gomez make it on #uglydelicious. Beyoooooond tasty. #keralafriedchicken finished with a drizzle of coconut oil and garam masala salt.

Yeah. It's pretty freaking good. Mint and cilantro in the buttermilk and garlic marinade? I was apprehensive but it worked. I did the drizzle of melted coconut oil and a sprinkle of garam masala salt to finish (the garam masala salt isn't in the recipe but I seem to remember her doing it in the episode). The only disappointing thing is that my chicken had no heat. I wasn't able to find 6 serrano peppers so I used 6 seeded jalapenos. Zero spiciness. Next time I'll strive harder to find the serranos or use 12 jalapenos and leave the seeds in. And then I think I would classify this as the perfect fried chicken.


[crochet] Ewok

Finished a little crocheted Ewok:

Finally finished that thing that I said I was going to finish. Ewok. 🌲🐻🌲Need to find a wire brush to make him fuzzy. #crochet #amigurumi #ewok #starwars

Pattern is free on Rav: Wicket the Ewok

So cuuuute. The mouth was a little, ah, difficult to stitch. Arms are a bit too long- would make them shorter next time. The hood totally makes it, though. Good use of scrap and leftover yarn. If I could find my wire slicker pet brush, I would brusha-brush him to make him super fuzzy. Gifted to Dollar, who absolutely loves it.