December 27, 2010

Busy Busy Bee

I'll be a busy, busy bee this week. Here is what I want to get done:

1. Get organized: I have a binder full of patterns--some originals and some that I found online. My goal this week is to go through this binder and figure out a method to the madness. I bought some dividers yesterday and have an idea for how to keep track of said patterns, my yarn inventory, and potential projects.

2. Complete craft projects in progress: namely my apron and some better-late-than-never Christmas presents.

3. Make 2011 planner

4. Clean out the kitchen: I got some lovely new cookery for Christmas (thanks family!) so I definitely need to get rid of some old pots and pans that I never use.

Lots of stuff. Hopefully I'll have time to record some of it.

(image source)

December 26, 2010

Holiday Favorites

I've been a naughty, naughty blogger: I haven't posted in a while and I never posted pictures from last Saturday's (semi-disastrous) holiday baking session. I spent the week finishing Christmas gifts, stressing over lost and/or delayed packages (grr), hopping on a train to visit my Great Grandmoter for her 94th birthday, helping my Mom host Christmas Eve dinner, and throwing a very festive Merry Krampus party yesterday.

Here is a collection of photos that represent some of the more memorable aspects of this Holiday Season...or at least those that I had the time and energy to take.

1. Our Christmas Tree

...and its many eclectic ornaments.

2. Mistletoe

3. Gingerbread Man gift tag

4. Semi-disastrous holiday baking session

5. Holiday Candy Wreaths

6. My poinsettia and the Abominable Snowman

7. Evan and our new afghan.

8. Krampus cards for our Merry Krampus Party. Handmade by XXXLittWear and they arrived on Christmas Eve.

9. Christmas M&Ms. Minty goodness.

10. Embroidery floss. This floss belonged to my grandmother, who was an excellent craftswoman, master cook, and beholder of all holy handmade knowledge. Apparently she would get embroidery thread through friends in Mexico and saved every last scrap. When she passed away 5 years ago, her children--my father and his sister--inherited her belongings, including knitting needles, crochet hooks, and embroidery thread. And now some of its been passed onto me.

11. Christmas: An American Annual of Christmas Literature and Art, Vols. 31, 35, &36 (1961, 1965, & 1966, respectively). History, music, poetry, art, cultural anthropology.

12. Vintage Pyrex: an early birthday gift from my Grandmother.

13. It's a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin. Definitely in my top 5 Christmas songs.

14. Krampus Festivus beer Christmas tree. All 400oz consumed.

15. New little friends: piggy and alpaca finger puppets procured by our friend Jordan from a woman in San Francisco.

16. Post-Krampus Festivus breakfast: mini boyfriend-made pancakes with peanut butter and satsuma oranges.

December 18, 2010

Farm Fresh Diary: December 18, 2010

Just a quick note today about my trip to the farmers' market. I wanted to pick up some herbs and maybe some rapini from Happy Boy Farms, but they weren't there. I can't blame them though: it rained pretty hard yesterday and its supposed to storm today. But still, I was disappointed because I was looking forward to pick up those herbs for our Krampus Dinner Party next Saturday (more about that later).

I was successful, however, in picking up the potatoes for the dinner and I found some tasty, tasty olives for the hor d'oeuvres table. This is the first time that I've bought anything from this vendor; the seller was very nice and the samples were very tasty. I got 2 containers for $11--Meyer Lemon & Garlic and Mixed Olives--a little pricey, but its Christmas or Krampus time and I couldn't resist.

I also picked up a bunch of satsumas. Citrus sounded good.

And now I'm off to do baking and crafting. Pictures coming soon (hopefully).

December 11, 2010

Farm Fresh Diary: Pardon the delay

I've been absent for longer than I would have liked, but this week was not conducive to blogging. Work was really busy (we had a big Holiday community event), I came down with an icky cold, and I was preparing for today's Holiday Bazaar. Thankfully things have quieted down a bit: the event was a success (despite the rain), I am nearly 100% recovered, and I completed all of my items for the Holiday Bazaar. Too bad I won't be able to reward myself for work well done--and a week finally over--with a trip to the farmers' market. Ah boo...

Instead I'll share photos and thoughts from my shopping last Saturday.

A new vendor has moved to the market: a Christmas tree lot! The market was lovely last Saturday: a little damp, not too chilly, and filled with fresh pine scent. The Christmas tree lot has squished all of the other vendors closer together, a new arrangement that I actually like. Although, I'm sure I would feel very, very differently if I had experienced this new configuration later in the day when it is busier (aka filled with people who are oblivious to how their actions affect others and/or are at the market with coffee in hand and child or pet in tow).

All I really needed this time was an onion and parsley (for making chicken broth), but I ended up getting some other goodies as well. I figured that fingerling potatoes would be nice, as would some heirloom carrots, which I roasted with cauliflower (yum!). I sampled a bit of satsuma and then picked up 4. And I also got something that I've never tried before. If I remember correctly it's called rapini. It's the green leafy veg on the right; I've seen it at the market for quite some time now, but I was wary of trying it. Happy Boy always provides preparation suggestions alongside its produce and for some reason the thought of sauteing this green with olive oil and garlic sounded really good. So I picked up a bunch and prepared it as such. And I have to say that I liked it--it kinda tastes like kale, but is much more tender. It also cooked quicker, but the yield was less than I had expected. At any rate, I think I'll get it again.

No one responded to my mystery veg post :(
Oh, well. It happens. It's called cardoni. According to Internet sources it is a vegetable that resembles celery in form but is actually related to artichoke hearts and is a favorite in Italy. I couldn't find many recipes but I knew that we had to try it. So I braised it in chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and tarragon--just like how I braise artichokes. One source that I found gave two words of advice: 1) soak the cadoni in salted water to remove the bitterness, and 2) cardoni is cooked when it is fork tender. I followed these instructions, but unfortunately it did not turn out very well: the cardoni was way undercooked and really, really bitter. I still haven't decided if I'm going to try to make it again. But it has disappeared from the supermarket, so I guess I have some time to think it over.

December 3, 2010

Week of Hats: Day 5

I know I designated this week to hats, but I haven't been able to photograph my latest creation. So instead I am making an exception so that I can follow through with my goal of a post a day (and show off some more of my handiwork).

Woven Herringbone Transforming Cowl

Inspiration for this neckwear came from this project and undoubtedly from the monotony of sorting out the ceramics collection at a museum that I used to work for. I was working on photographing and storing ceramics one day last fall when all of a sudden it hit me: why not make an infinity scarf that could be worn in many different ways? I quickly sketched out my idea and set it aside for further investigation. Nearly a year later I've realized my idea and am quite pleased with the results:

A chunky scarf with beautiful buttons and a choose your own style twist: the buttons are fully functional and allow the wearer to style the piece in any way she wants--as a scarf, a loop, or a twisted cowl (pictured).

December 2, 2010

Week of Hats: Day 4

Festive cable knit beanies with detachable pom poms. I am so excited about these pom poms! They just open up a door of possibilities--for myself and those who buy/wear my hats.

Festive Cable Knit Beanies

I made this hat in two sizes because the first one came out too small (like they often do). Anna is wearing the child size, but sports both versions of the pom poms. Ah, the beauty of innovation...

December 1, 2010

Week of Hats: Day 3

Another (sort of) slouchy beret for your Wednesday! This one is my own design/pattern, so you know its on Etsy.

Double Moss Stitch Beret

It is an improvised design based on my base pattern for hats. Figuring out how to decrease while maintaining the double moss stitch pattern was a little tricky, but I think I made it work. However, I think I'll add more slouch next time. I have this awful habit of making things too small the first time around; for some reason I always tend to think that what I'm making is too big. I should stop doing that...

November 30, 2010

Week of Hats: Day 2

Today is Tuesday and here is your second dose of hats for this very special week. I found this pattern online through Ravelry and made both versions of this hat earlier this year. These are closely my favorites of the bunch. Enjoy!

Spring Beret

The citron is the regular version and the eggplant is the extra slouchy version.

I believe that I used needles one size smaller than the pattern called for. I also freestyled on the increase a little bit to add some extra detail. The only tricky aspect of this pattern is making sure that you keep your stitches straight; I had to troubleshoot on a few occasions, but I really like how they turned out.

November 29, 2010

Week of Hats: Day 1

I recently added a bunch of my projects to my Ravelry account. And to show off my work (and diligence) I began posting each item to my Facebook page one at a time. It dawned on me yesterday that I should have done this through my blog instead. Thus the Week of Hats is born. Please enjoy and let me know what you think.

Flower Hat

I made this hat while on vacation in Maine this summer. The pattern for this cap is from Narumi Ogawa's Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful and was the perfect project for a road trip from Maine to Massachusetts. The flower is detachable and my good friend Anna models it very well.

November 27, 2010

Mystery Veg--Can you guess what it is?

I didn't feel up to the farmers' market this morning: the weather was crummy and I wasn't feeling too well (my annual Holiday cold has arrived.) So instead I have a little challenge for my readers (all 11 of you).

Can you name this mystery vegetable?

We found it at the supermarket last night. Neither of us had seen or heard of it before, and so naturally we picked one up. Here are some more pictures and a hint* to help you along:

*Its about 2.5 feet long, and no, it isn't celery.

Bonus points and my great thanks for preparation suggestions and recipes.

November 23, 2010

Mills College Holiday Craft Fair 2010

Last Thursday I participated in the annual Mills College Holiday Craft Fair. The day was great! It started out a little cold (great for hat sales), I got to sit next to my dear friend, former boss, knitter extraordinaire Fatima, and introduce a whole bunch of people to the magical world of whoopie pies. Take a look at what I brought and let me tell you how I did.

I brought...

Knitted goodies: festive cable beanies, slouchy berets, neckwarmers of all sorts, and wrist warmers. Also some crochet and felt pins (lower right corner).

Felt Christmas ornaments (on Etsy soon)

that I displayed on a purple Christmas tree.
Nice touch, I think.

And catnip buddies (of course)

I think I did pretty well. But next time I won't bring as many vanilla whoopie pies.*

*didn't sell a single one!