Tuesday

[needlefelting] Finished Sing Bird Tapestry

Finished the tapestry this weekend:

Songbird Tapestry

Love how it turned out. I took out a straight-edge and trimmed the border. It is 11 inches x 15 inches. Going to look for a frame after work today.

The wrong side:

Songbird Tapestry

I deviated a bit from the picture that comes with the kit- I added some different flowers and a little butterfly and bumblebee.

Songbird Tapestry

I loved working on this project- it was fun to do and I love the colors and fuzziness...

Songbird Tapestry

I have a decent amount of leftover wool, as well, for another project. Maybe a landscape.

Will probably be entering this into the fair this fall...

Friday

[knitting] Teapot Cosy Progress

The teapot cosy, which is taking up all my time and yarn:

Half of the teapot cosy complete. ❤️💕 Time to start perusing flower patterns to decorate the top. 🌹🌷 #knitting #teapotcosy #knitpicks #knitpickspalette


At this point, the two ruffled halves are done. I did decide to go with a garter-stitch lining, which is half complete. I pulled out Nicky Epstein's Crocheted Flowers and made several roses and leaves to decorate the top of the cosy. This project is snowballing into something pretty involved but I think the finished cosy will be pretty nice.

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Looking forward to the three-day weekend. I should be able to finish the cosy and putter around on other projects. Planning on doing a lot of baking (biscotti... King Cake on Monday to bring in to work on Tuesday...)

I made some homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot this week. I strained it to be extra-thick Skyr style. It. Is. Wonderful.

TGIFFFFFFFF.

Thursday

[knitting] Flaco Socks Complete

Finished the Flaco socks:

Flaco socks complete.  Ready to keep my toesies warm during the impending snow storm. ❄️ #knitting #sockknitting #flacosocks #fiberstashdyeworks

I really could have used them last night. I was in bed, my toes were freezing and Penny was between my legs, so I couldn't get up. Luckily, I had a handknit pair of socks just within reach and I was able to grab them and put them on without disturbing Penny TOO much.

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Happy Valentimes! Going to make a nice duck dinner tonight. I wish my teapot cosy was done- it's in pinks and red and I've crocheted some roses and flowers... it's very Valentine-y.

I'm nearly done with my needle felted tapestry. Just got to fill a few remaining blank areas. Felt it a bit.... Trim... Frame? I'm not too sure, I haven't really thought that far ahead. There is a lot of wool leftover, though- enough for a another project.

Tuesday

[knitting] Drawstring Pouches

In mid-January, I posted a pink drawstring pouch that I knit during the NFL Playoff games. The Pats won their game, so I had to keep making the pouches during their games. 

I made this during the AFC Championship game:

AFC Pouch

AFC Champs. So I had to make another during the Super Bowl:

Super Bowl Pouch

WORLD CHAMPS. Got to watch some good football and close out the season with some nice little bags:

Football Pouches

I think I'll use these as gift bags in the future.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Weekend napping on the couch:

🌀


Murderface was leaving wet paw prints all over the kitchen floor this morning. Great- where's the barf? He must have walked through some and was tracking it all over the house. Or, god forbid, pee. I followed the trail back upstairs... to the bathrooooooom... shower. He had gotten in after my shower. Whew.

###

The weekend went by too fast. I finished the two halves for the teapot cosy- just working on crocheted flowers to decorate the top with. I'm also contemplating going the extra mile and knitting a lining for the inside (gotta keep that tea HOT).

Other than a quick cabled hat that I want to knit and send to a coworker, I think I'm ready to stop procrastinating and cast on for a sweater. I swatched (a bit)... I just need to get everything together. Like the yarn and the needles and... ok, that's literally all I need to get together. I'll cast on this week. Probably.

Friday

[cooking] 'Za and cookies kind of night

It was a stressy stressful week at work. The only cure was pizza:

It’s a ‘za kind of night. 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕

And cookies:

And a cookie kind of night. 🍪 Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk with the last bit of a marmalade jar mixed in for good measure. #baking #cookies #oatmealcookies

This basis of this is oatmeal raisin but I used dried cranberries instead of raisins. I also chopped up half a bar of baking white chocolate and added the last bit of a jar of marmalade. Just using up bits of whatever I had on the baking shelf. I baked off a dozen and put the leftover dough in the freezer.

###

We had a fake spring this week- temps in the 50's, snow melting, ice everywhere, dirt road getting rather squishy. It's going to get cold again this weekend (highs in the 20's) but it will be sunny. I plan on taking lots of pictures of the cats napping in the sun.

I finished my Flaco socks and got back to the tea pot cosy last night. My weekend plans are just to putter away on crafty stuff, which I haven't been able to do (too busy and too stressy), and chillax to the max. I've got a couple duck breasts in the fridge and I'm planning a nice dinner for Saturday night.

I swatched for a sweater (as much as I'm willing to swatch, anyway) and I need to just bite the bullet and cast on for it.

TGIF, for reals.

Thursday

[knitting] Teapot Cosy

In need of a teapot, I rummaged around TJ Maxx and found one for $10. I've been making pots of barley tea and wrapping the pot with kitchen towels to keep it warm. There are so many adorable teapot cosy patterns out there, I decided to make one:

My tea pot needs a cosy. A frilly cosy. 🌹 #knitting #teacosy

This is a vintage free pattern: Daffodil Stitch Tea Cosy from 1929. I'm not too far into it but I think it's two identical panels that are sewn together, leaving openings for the handle and spout. I grabbed some Knit Picks Palette in the stash and plan on making mine in red-blush-pink with green trim.

Wednesday

[knitting] Flaco socks progress

New socks: 

New socks... soon.  @fiberstash yarn. #knitting #sockknitting

This was my travel knitting for DC last week. The yarn is Fiber Stash Dyeworks Strong Toes in the Chestnut colorway (I believe). The pattern is free and called Flaco (rav link).

After completing the blue Lissajous Figures socks recently, which had lots of traveling and twisted stitches, this is a much more relaxing pattern. With just rounds of purl, knit and moss stitch, it's working up quickly.

Tuesday

[knitting] Totally Biased Rainbow Cowl

I finished this a while ago but only got a chance to take pictures over the weekend.

Totally Biased Cowl

The pattern is Totally Biased (rav link). This is at least my 9th time making this pattern and I love it. It's easily customized to different weights of yarn and widths. The only hard part is the grafting at the end but that can be meditative.

I used one skein of Knitting Fever Painted Desert in a marled rainbow colorway. 

Totally Biased Cowl

It's a fingering-weight sock yarn. I provisionally cast on 70 stitches and placed my purl ridges randomly (trying to roughly line them up with the color changes).

Totally Biased Cowl

The cowl was taken on my work trip to DC last week and worn around the Metro area.

Monday

[knitting] Dappled Lace Cafe Curtains

Finished and hung my lace linen curtains in the bathroom over the weekend:

Lace curtains

Each panel is one skein of  Euroflax Linen Sport. The pattern is from Knit Picks: Dappled Lace Cafe Curtains. I charted the pattern before knitting. The walls are white and the curtains give the room a coral glow.

Blocking:

Lace curtains

I folded over the top stockinette edge and used a long tail to sew it to the top of the lace area. It was a tight fit getting the tension rod through but I managed.

Lace curtains

They are slightly too short but I used up practically every inch of the two skeins (I think I only have a couple yards leftover).

The knitting worked up rather quickly and I would happily do this pattern again for another window. 

Friday

[travel] DC

Was in DC this week for the ESRI Federal User's Conference. Always a good time to see colleagues from across the country- who I email frequently but only get to see a couple times a year.

I love visiting the DC area for all the restaurants. We went out to a nice Korean place in Annandale the first night.

Seafood hot pot at the table:

Korean hot pot in Annandale

Lots of banchan:

Korean banchan in Annandale

And makgeolli:

Korean makgeolli in Annandale

I was staying by the metro stop at the top of King Street in Old Town Alexandria. Theismann's bar was right across the street, so we were there a lot. Their flatbread was great:

Mushroom Flatbread

I also got a little mushroom pizza at Matchbox in DC one night. All I really want is mushroom pizza. I never get to have it at home.

The conference reception was at the National Building Museum, which I've never been to but it was sooooo beautiful inside:

Party at the National Building Museum last night.

Did more than my fair share of drinking, so I'm going to detox for a while. Chill and take it easy.

###

My plane knitting was a new pair of socks- which are working up pretty quickly (nearly done with the first one). I also started a tea pot cosy.

I did visit a yarn shop while I was down there- Fibre Space in Alexandria. Just got a couple Berroco yarns (worsted for a pair of Dollar socks; bulky yarn for a quick niece sweater).

My weekend project will be finishing up the linen curtains- I cast off and blocked them before I left. I just need to sew the top closed for the tension rod and then hang them.


[needlefelting] Song Bird Tapestry Progress

Making more progress on the Song Bird Tapestry...

Song bird progress... 🐦 #needlefelting

Added more flowers. Did the black outline around the bird itself- which I quite liked doing. Trying to fill in the empty spaces without it looking too cluttered. 

Neysa Russo's Etsy shop is TapestryNeedleFelt. I have her book but I need to get some more wool and felt from her shop.

###

TGIF. Should be able to wash and block a few knitting projects this weekend. No football to watch, which is good- my house desperately needs vacuuming.

Thursday

[knitting] Linen Curtains

Progress is moving along quickly on the linen curtains:

Dragonfruit and linen curtains. 🐉 #knitting #knitcurtains


Enjoying some dragon fruit while I knit- which I always pick up when I visit Hmart. I haven't found any dragon fruit that's pink or yellow on the inside- they normally just have the white with black seeds.

###

Used the Instant Pot to make some quick baked beans last night. Boy do I love cooking beans from dry (no soaking) in an hour. I did navy beans in the IP (30 min normal pressure, 30 min natural release) with some bay leaves, salt, olive oil. Then, in a dutch oven on the stove, I cooked down some bacon, added some onion, then the cooked beans and some broth, molasses, maple syrup. Let it continue to cook and reduce for a bit- and it was sooooo good. Baked beans from scratch with only about 30 min of active cooking time.

Tuesday

[misc] Hmart and the Blizzard

Made a quick trip to Hmart with my mom on Saturday before the blizzard started. I was up and out of my house at 6:30am and at hers by 7am. Sigh. But it was a quiet drive and we got to Burlington, MA by 9 am. We did our shopping, had some lunch and were back home by 2pm. 

It was a madhouse there. We had no trouble finding parking when we arrived but by the time we left at noon, cars were slowly circling the parking lot like sharks, following anyone pushing a shopping car away from the store's exit. There was even a LINE of cars backed up, waiting to get into the parking lot. People were being crazy- parking up on the grass and places they so obviously shouldn't. 

It was a successful shopping trip. I replenished by Vermont Curry supply:

Vermont Curry Display

Found a new type of stew that I'm not willing to try... yet:

Tasty White Stew

Bought some super hot ramens. A package of Volcano Chicken and a package of this:

Spicy Ramen

Which I mostly bought because the only descriptive word in English on it is 'Mania'.

My best purchase of the day:

Successful trip to Hmart.

I love them but Murderface hates them. I'm thinking of making him cat slippers that have little human heads on them, so he won't feel so bad.

###

Sunday was a snow day. We watched the games at home, rather than going out into the full-on blizzard. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl!!

Monday was a holiday but we stayed home all day. It was -25 F with the wind ALL DAY. ALLLLLL DAAAAAY. 

I did a huge amount of knitting over the weekend- I started a linen curtain with plans to make two panels. It would be good airplane knitting for a work trip next week. But I'm already done with one panel and 25% into the second so I think I'll finish these before I even go. Time to find another travel. Either socks or a tea cosy (I finally got out my never-been-used teapot for a pot of barley tea- and now it needs a cosy).

Friday

[knitting] Pink Drawstring Pouch

Made a quick little drawstring pouch with leftover Araucania Atacama:

Knit pouch

It's a DK weight yarn and I used US 5 needles. I cast on 48 stitches, knit an inch, work *yo, k2tog* around, work several more inches and then kitchener stitch the bottom closed. Then I made an i-cord to weave through the yo round.

Quick, easy and cute. Made this last weekend during the football games. Good stash busting project for small amounts of yarn.

###

TGIF. Going to be wicked cold and wicked snowy this weekend. We may be snowed in. I'm making a quick run to Hmart with my mom tomorrow, hopefully getting back up to the Upper Valley before it starts snowing around 4pm. Then we'll have all the nice foodie supplies to survive the blizzard.

I imagine we'll be checking out Season 2 of Punisher. I might have to make another "Pie-nisher".

Thursday

[needlefelting] Song Bird Tapestry

Some progress on the needle felting tapestry:

Song Bird Tapestry

###

I have two skeins of Euroflax Linen Sport and I think I'll knit a couple lace cafe curtain panels for a bathroom window. The pattern is free from Knit Picks: Dappled Lace Cafe Curtain.

I downloaded this pattern years ago and the suggested yarn was KP Shine Sport. Now they are recommending Curio, their cotton crochet thread. The wide panel only uses one ball of Curio and at $3.99 per ball, that's a very inexpensive and pretty project! I just so happen to have several colors of Curio in my stash but I'll stick with the Euroflax linen- it's already wound into balls and is a pretty coral color (which is the Pantone color of 2019). 

The only downside is that the pattern is written and not charted. I'll break out the graph paper and chart it.

Wednesday

[cooking] Orange Honeycomb Cake

I received a new Nordic Ware bundt/cake pan for Christmas and used it for the first time this week:

Orange Honeycomb Cake

The recipe I used is this orange bundt from King Arthur Flour. I used juice and zest from a couple cara cara oranges.

The food release spray and the batter kind of marred the bee/honeycomb design inside the hexagons. I think I'll have to try different batters to see what works best. But it did turn out tasty.

Orange Honeycomb Cake

The green plate was also a gift- from an arts community in Rhode Island.

###

Watched a new documentary on Hulu called Fyre Fraud about last year's failed festival. It was very good. Looking forward to the Netflix one coming out this weekend.

We started watching Season 3 of True Detective. So good. We've gone back and started re-watching Season 1 because we're sure they'll somehow be linked. Mahershala Ali's acting is amazing.

Tuesday

[needlefelting] Song Bird Tapestry

Last fall I picked up one of Neysa Russo's felted tapestry kits at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I've admired her medieval tapestries for many years and finally decided to give it a try.

The kit I bought:

Needle Felting Kit

And my start:

Song Bird Tapestry

It's pretty fun. There's something gratifying about stabbing little bits of wool over and over into a piece of felt. The kit came with lots of different colors- it will be fun to add lots of vines and flowers.

Monday

[cooking] 7 Layer Bean Dip

Saw a timely recipe on Simply Recipes for the weekend: 7 Layer Bean Dip. There is also a link within the recipe to make your own homemade refried beans using the Instant Pot, which I did (very easy). Assembled everything on Sunday for the 1pm Patriots game:

7 layer dip

So good.

7 layer dip

SO good. If you omitted the cheese and used a light sour cream, it wouldn't be a particularly unhealthy thing to graze on.

The Patriots won so I guess I'll have to make this again next Sunday to keep the winning streak going... 

###

Went to my grandmother's "90 & Fabulous" birthday party on Saturday. Got to see so many relatives I haven't seen in ages. 

Started a few little knitting projects to work on during the football games- a little pink drawstring pouch, more fingerless mitts (while the pattern is fresh in my mind after making so many pairs during the holidays). And I started a needle-felting project from a kit I bought at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival last fall.

Didn't do as much cooking over the weekend as I wanted. I made a pot of bacon-leek-potato soup but I didn't get around to any orange recipes. Gotta make some marmalade this week!

Friday

[knitting] Lissajous Figures Socks

My first finished objects of 2019:

Lissajous Figures Socks

Pattern is Lissajous Figures Socks. I didn't understand the relevance of the name until I googled a little bit about Lissajous curves. Then it clicked.

I struggled with the pattern a bit at the beginning but I really grew to love the movement of the twisted stitches. The pattern is the same on the front and back- magic loop would be the best knitting method but I used two circulars to evenly divide the stitches.

The pattern is well written with lots of helpful pictures. Lots of details- I especially like the heel flaps:

Lissajous Figures Socks

I simplified the sole of the foot to make it plain stockinette, rather than how it was written.

We're just getting into a cold snap here and I was able to enjoy the socks last night in bed:

First finished project of the year. Just in time for the cold snap. #knitting #sockknitting #lissajousfigures #bedsocks #fiberstashdyeworks

The yarn is Strong Toes by VT dyer Fiber Stash Dyeworks. I picked up this skein in Tardis Blue at last fall's Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I have a couple more skeins of this yarn wound and ready to go for the next project- I just need to settle on a pattern.

Thursday

[quilling] It's a start

I received a quilling starter kit for Christmas- all the basic tools and paper, as well as a book. I had seen some examples of this paper craft around Instagram and thought, "Hey, I need a new hobby." I cleared off the table in the craft room and began:

Got a #quilling starter kit for Christmas. Trying out some things last night. It’s... fussy. And makes me feel like I have gigantic gorilla hands.

This is very fine, delicate, small, fussy work that makes me feel like I have clumsy gorilla hands. But it was my first time and I just need to practice. Practice twirling the paper, practice shapes, practice consistent sizes. And keep the cats off the table. The long, thin strands of colorful paper are apparently a beacon to Penny.

###

Made a big ol' pot of doenjang jjigae for the band last night and sent everyone home with leftovers. Tonight- Vermont Curry: What is it and why has no one in Vermont ever heard of it?

I'm going to try to spend an hour each night working on something other than knitting. The quilling above. Quilting. Needle felting. Crochet. Cross stitch. Embroidery. Weaving. (omg why do I have so many hobbies?) Something different every night. A dedicated hour across different crafts should help me finish languishing projects.

Wednesday

[vermont] Turkey Tracks

Saw some turkey tracks in the snow:

⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ turkey tracks

They look like arrows pointing up but the turkey would have been walking toward me.

The Christmas tree came down yesterday. It's so sad to see it stripped and thrown unceremoniously off the back deck. I shouted "I'm sorry- you were a good tree!... I love you!" as it went over. But now I can finally use the new corner shelves for storing dutch ovens (thereby freeing up cupboard space my for expanding bundt pan collection).

Yesterday I picked up a 20 lb box of cara cara oranges at the Coop citrus case sale. I missed this sale last year (was traveling for work). The previous year was the first time I got a case and made so. many. good. orange recipes. I plan on doing many of the same- orange cake, marmalade, candied peels, sorbet. And having lots of fresh squeezed juice with vodka.

Tuesday

[cooking] Instant Pot Turkey Sausage Pasta

My first one-pot meal in the IP:

Turkey sausage pasta


Followed this recipe. Easy to bring together and a nice hot meal to have while watching a game of football on Sunday. Good way to use up an entire plastic container of power greens (mix of baby spinach, kale, beet greens, etc).

Last night I tried some 5-5-5 eggs. Mine were more like 5-5-5-30 min sitting around inside the IP because I got distracted by an episode of Jeopardy. The eggs were incredibly easy to peel but the yolks had gone a bit green around the outside. The egg salad tastes fine but next time I'll get them out and into an ice bath right away.

But this brings me to Sauna Eggs. Kind of a fad Korean food at the moment, they're slow-cooked (7 hours or so) hard-boiled eggs commonly sold at bath houses. They get pretty dark and taste toasty (from what I've read). They're gaining in popularity because with the IP, you can have them in 90 minutes rather than 7 hours. This is definitely on my To Do list.

Monday

[misc] Happy New Year

Back from a two week vacation. I hardly have anything to show for it because I was in pajamas, couch surfing for most of it. Made some nice cookies and cakes and rolls for holidays parties. Had a friend stay over for a couple nights. Came down with a cold that I can't seem to shake after a week (lovely). Took a drive through the Joseph Smith Memorial to see the lights:

🎄🎄


I finished knitting the blue pair of socks and started a quicker biased cowl. I rummaged through the yarn stash and found enough for a sweater. I bought a nice stranded yoke sweater pattern on Rav (Starfall) and I think I'm going to make a sweater for myself. It's about time. It's been a decade since I've knit myself a sweater.

Much of the holidays was spent cat loafing around with the cats. Penny, who loves her red bow:

Penny 💝

Murderface, hardcore 18-hour napper:

Murderface

Santana, smiling because she knows I'm going to end up going upstairs to pee, rather than making her move:

Santana

I have a couple new appliances. A Vitamix blender. O. MG. I came home and immediately pushed aside a ceramic rooster container on the counter to give the blender a permanent and prominent place. I now look at things in my fridge and pantry in a new light. "That'll blend... that'll blend... that'll probably blend." My smoothies are so smooth now. It completely obliterates ice cubes. I think I'm giving up solid food. 

I am also now a member of the Instant Pot Army. I've only used it twice and I'm still learning (Oh- you mean it has to come UP TO PRESSURE before it starts pressure cooking? Well then this isn't really a FIVE MINUTE MEAL, is it?) but it is nice. I haven't kicked anything off the counter to make formal room for the IP yet... it still has to prove itself. Really- I'd like to for simple stuff- quick hard boiled eggs, cooking dried beans (so much cheaper than canned), homemade yogurt, canning. I bet it would make a nice doenjang jjigae, though. 

Well, it's good to be back at work. Now I am motivated to make the most of my precious few free hours in the evening. When I have the whole day, I think "Meh, I'll get to it... sometime." But I don't because, ha ha, I'm on vacation. Now, on to all my new to-do lists. 

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.