Monday, December 31, 2012

33 Things for the year I turn 33

So, I read someone's blog where she listed 29 things to do before she turned 29, since she had just turned 28 . . . or something to that effect.  I wanted to do something similar.  This year I turn 33, I do not intend to necessarily do these things before I turn 33 in October, but in 2013 in general.

We have decided for financial reasons not to look for a house until 2014, which I am bummed about, but we will be in a better place for a house then.

As something that also fits into this, my husband a few weeks ago said something that at first insulted me, but the more I thought about it, it was true.  He said that I don't necessarily enjoy certain things, such as cooking, I like experimenting.  Which insulted me at first because you hold certain things as part of your personality and even though I know I don't love cooking, I did think of myself as beginning to enjoy it.  But the more I thought about it, he is right,  I often don't stick with hobbies, because once there is less to learn or experiment with, I often grow board with it.  Now, it may take years for that to happen, but it's one of the reason I don't draw so much anymore.  I do love to learn, experiment, etc. and am realizing that I need to embrace more of that aspect of my personality where applicable.

So here is my list of things to try/work on/accomplish in no specific order:

1. Spin a sweaters worth of yarn. - I purchased 12oz so far of a lovely roving that I would love to spin and knit into a sweater for myself.

2. Start knitting a sweater with handspun yarn.

3. Take 30 minutes a day to either exercise/meditate.

4. Attend the church next door at least twice. - I am missing lately the feeling of community and the church is a Unitarian Church, so they accept people of any belief, so I want to go and see if it's somewhere I might feel like I belong.

5. Have an allowance, no more that $50 per month, while saving for a house.

6. Try making my own triangle shawl design. - I am finding that this winter season I am really preferring shawls over scarves due to bulk issues.

7. Design a sweater for Eleanor based on the Bobba Hat.

8. Knit a sweater/top for Justice. - thinking about a cabled smooshy sweater

9. Knit a sweater/top for Vera. - thinking about a lovely summery top

10. Knit a sweater/top for Liam. - vest or dressy/nerdy looking sweater for a classy little young man

11. Sew Rhoni and Eleanor's birthday gifts. - special request from Rhoni, have I mentioned how much I love requests.

12. Sew Echo, Justice, and Vera a version of these also for a Mother's Day gift for Echo.

13. Sew myself a version of this also, as I think it would be nifty.

14 - 17. Knit double-knit Seahawks/Mariners cowls for Echo, Justice, Vera, and Rhoni.

18. Knit Eleanor some nifty socks.

19. Knit Jacob's socks by Valentine's Day.

20. Fix loom so I can actually use it.
21. I want 2013 to be the Year of Swatching for me. - I would like to knit more swatches just for the sake of swatching to create ideas, to try new stitch designs, etc.

22. Take the time to eat healthy.  - I haven't been doing so well this end of the year and have gained some of my weight back and in general felt blah.

23. Try more variety for Wookie's homemade food and make batches big enough to freeze. - We have gone to homemade food supplemented with some kibble.

24. Knit Dark and Stormy sweater along with Knitting Samurai Plus 1 Group. - Another attempt to bring myself into more "community" type activities.  Plus it just looks like a nifty sweater.

25. Try more experimenting in cooking, especially Paleo cooking and Gluten-Free baking.

26. Try dyeing the cotton/linen yarn I have so that I will actually use it.

27. Knit John a pair of Birthday Socks in the Alda Road Socks pattern with the Stellar colorway from Apothecary Yarns.

28. This summer try taking Wookie out with the bicycle. - I purchased last summer one of the kids buggies that go behind the bike for him, so I could ride my bike to the dog park with him, but never did it this year.

29. Buy one of the Petite Turkish Spindles from Riley Wood and Fiber Art. - Love the look of his Petite Spindles and I don't have to have it Internationally Shipped!

30. Finish Eleanor's Blanket that I started before she was born.  - Yes, it has sat 80% finished for the last almost 2 years.

31. Finish Vera's Blanket that I started before she was born. - Yes, I started it 4 years ago . . . I would like to finish it, it's about 70% complete.  I have a harder time finishing things when they are no longer travel size!

32. Accept that knitting or crafting does not always have to have a recipient, sometimes it's just nice to make something.

33.  Experiment with life more.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Inspirations

Body Inspirations:

Doesn't this Cinnamon Vanilla Spice Body Scrub sound wonderful? Who doesn't want to smell like that deliciousness?

Recipe Inspirations:

I am a roulade/pinwheel fan in general, so it's no wonder I find these Beef Roulade with Walnut Parsley Pesto. I am usually not a fan of walnuts, but it might be worth trying in a pesto.

I love Shrimp Cocktail and am exited to find a recipe that seems simple.

This recipe is going to be the perfect "see I love you husband of mine" type recipe. Jacob loves German Chocolate Cake and I think he will devour these German Chocolate Cake Sandwich Cookies, especially since the cookies are crunchy, his favourite kind of cookies. Plus, I'll get to use the new Kitchen Aid mixer that my sister and brother-in-law got me for Christmas! :) The thing is so industrial like it makes me feel like a real cook!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Smallish Update

Well I kind of disappeared this week.  Wednesday at work I fell down some stairs, tweaked my ankle and twisted/dislocated my knee.  So I haven't been as mobile as I'd like.  Friday afternoon my knee popped back into place and healing has gone much better since then.  I'm still a little sore and a little swollen, but I can walk much better, which Wookie very much appreciates.

 I have stuff to show you and promise I will get pictures and make some posts soon.  Also, Blogger/Outlook has messed with me and I don't know how long it has been going on.  For posts, it always comes up with the persons email in the past, so I just hit reply, I have very recently noticed that "" is coming up instead with many people and I don't know how long this has been going on.  If you haven't been receiving replies from me, know that I tried, I just didn't notice this change and don't know how long it has been happening.

On the other side of the United States my sister and brother-in-law have a very sick puppy right now and things are up in the air as to how they will go, but it's not looking good.  Please keep Zero in your thoughts and hope things go well.  He is definitely one of the best puppies and deserves to be around a long time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Steusel Coffee Cake

So when I talked about the Cranberry Upside Down Cake, I had referred back to the Apple Coffee Cake I had made before. Which got me thinking that it sounded good to have again, when I went to the link though, that blogger had deleted their blog! Ugh, I kicked myself for not writing the recipe down. My ignorance of assuming it would always be there.

So I decided to search and try a new one, I used this Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake recipe from Betty Crocker, but I added apple to the mix.



I recommend this recipe as a base. I added peeled and chopped McIntosh Apples. Add more than you think you need too. I thought I added plenty, which was a bit over a cup. I would suggest 3 cups worth, or at least that is what I will be trying next time.

I know this sounds kind of odd, but I definitely think that Gluten-Free Bisquick is far better than the regular Bisquick.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Inspirations

Not many inspirations this time, but not a whole lot of computer time this week/weekend.  I will try to do better next week.

Recipe Inspirations:

These are the most Paleo friendly Homemade Marshmallows you will probably ever find. The look lovely and I will have to try them sometime.

Cheesecake Cookies, don't these sound yummy . . . maybe with some minty flavor too?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

So remember a couple weeks ago on a Sunday, I listed this Cranberry Upside Down Cake as an inspiration.

Well, I tried it:


It was delicious! A couple changes I would make, a little less sugar, and I would probably use this amount of dough to make 2 since I don't have a bundt pan, plus I like more fruit compared to cake.

Here is my gluten free adaptation:

2 cups dried whole cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour (I used Arrowhead Mills, personally this is one of the most "all-purpose" gluten free flours I have found)
1 tsp xanthan gum (needed in gluten-free recipes for flour to rise more)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 1/4 cup sugar, divided (didn't lower sugar, to see how it worked, but would most likely cut some next time)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Rub the bottom and sides pan with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon.  Next sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. (I ended up throwing out half of this mixture because it was just too much . . .in the end, I still think it might be excessive to do this step at all). Arrange the cranberries in a single layer on top of the sugar mixture.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.
4. Cream butter with fork.  Next slowly add 1 3/4 cup sugar.  Beat until mixture is fluffy.
5. Crack eggs in a separate bowl and then add them to the butter/sugar mixture one at a time.
6. Add the vanilla to the milk.
7. Next alternating between the flour and milk, starting with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture.  Followed by 1/2 of the milk.  Alternating until everything is thoroughly mixed together.
8. Put the batter into the pan.  (Like I mentioned above, this is really enough cake batter to make two thin cakes and really get a better fruit to cake ratio).  Bake the cake for approx. 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wookie's Elation

We've had little bits of snow in the past couple weeks and Wookie has been elated!



On a side note, I love it when the wet leaves dye the sidewalk with leaf prints!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can you guess?

Can you guess what Garren requested for Christmas?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eleanor's Hat

This hat was knit to match Eleanor's Seahawks Scarf. Unfortunately her scarf isn't long enough, so it is back with me for some added length, so you guys will be seeing that again. But in the mean time, I finished her hat.

I honestly think the design worked well right side and inside out. I almost prefer how the decreases look on the inside. I wanted the decreases to still match in ribbing and in stripes.

Right side:



Inside out:


Yarn: Baby Bee Sweet Delight Baby
Color: Limeade and Baby Red
Content: 60% Acrylic / 40% Polyamide
Care: Machine Wash and Dry

Needles: US 3
Pattern: Made up
Size: Adult size, as that is her head size now

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Liam's Christmas Socks

I know, I know, you guys are tired of seeing socks, but this isn't the last of them. I would love to admit my sock kick is done, but it's still going, even if a little slower at some times. Too many ideas, thoughts, etc.

So here are Liam's Christmas socks. The coloring was not done intentionally, they were knit two-at-a-time on circulars, so I just started one sock from the inside of the skein and the other from the outside.

I did do an afterthought heel and used only white sections, since those sections are so small, the heel had like 8 ends to weave in!




Yarn:Lion Brand's Jamie
Color: Caribbean Stripes
Content: 100% Acrylic
Care: Machine Wash and Dry

Needles: US 1.5 / 2.5mm
Pattern: Made it up
Size: 4-5 Baby

Aren't they just adorable? Love how they ended up working out. Might have to knit the girls some in this colorway too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Justice's Christmas Socks

More socks!  I didn't want them all to have the same pattern, but I did want to stick with the ribbing theme.  The basic theory to Justice's rib is K1, P1 on the top of the foot for 5 rows, knit one row, then P1, K1 on the top for 5 rows, then knit one row and start with the K1,P1 rib again.  I love how stretchy they turned out.

I had remembered to take a picture of it in the ball.

I started these sock over three times, until I found a pattern I thought the color variation looked good in.

In the end, I think the ribbing and colors worked well together and it almost looks like it stripes.


There was really only pooling on the gusset/heel turn.

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock Blank
Content: 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Color: Dyed by Justice with Blue, Red, Yellow and Orange Wilton's Icing Dye
Care: Machine Wash and Dry

Needles: US 1
Size: US 7 Womens

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Inspirations

Not a wide variety, but it's been a bit of a busy week. :)

Recipe Inspirations:

Well, these Peppermint Meringues were something I was looking at last week, but was wondering how I would do it without a mixer. Well, my Christmas present arrived . . . a Kitchen Aid mixer so I will be trying these sometime this week!

Ah, this Slow Cooker Apple Butter sounds delicious.

I want to try these or something close to these Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls in a gluten-free version.

I cannot remember if I mentioned these before, it seems like I did, but these Chicken Rollatinis sound so good, how could they not be mentioned again.

I'll have to try this Paleo Nugget recipe.

Hmm, this Hungarian Pork Stew sounds delicious . . . just have to do something other than pasta.

Even though adaptations are needed to make this Chicken and Sausage Stew paleo, it sounds delicious and worth it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eleanor's Socks

This is my first attempt knitting socks for Eleanor, she grows so quickly, it is usually a fail for me, because I cannot keep up.

However, I am attempting socks. I tried a very plain version of socks to see how well these fit her and will base more complicated future socks off how I may need to alter these ones to fit her. So we shall see how it goes.

I used some of the yarn that Vera dyed as I figured Vera would find it cool that her and Eleanor socks are similar colors.

Very basic toe-up socks.

Afterthought heels.


Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock Blank
Content: 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Color: Dyed by Vera with Yellow and Orange Wilton's Icing Dye
Care: Machine Wash and Dry

Needles: US 1
Size: US 9 Children

These socks are cute and little and took barely any time. I am finding that I love to knit little people socks to try things out on because of the ease to make them. Hope they fit her well.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Vera's Christmas Socks

The pattern on the top of these socks come about from seeing Monika's Graham Hat in broken rib and loved it! The "wrong-side" texture was so lovely that I had to try it on socks.

For a little background, when I was out in Washington State this summer, I had Vera, Justice, and Echo dye up some yarn for socks I would knit them for Christmas.

On the back of the chair is the skein Echo dyed, on the back of the seat is the sock blank Justice dyed, and on the front of the seat is the sock blank that Vera dyed.  Sorry, forgot to take a picture of Vera's yarn in ball form.

And here is one of the pairs of socks from Vera's sock blank:



Don't you just love the texture on these?!?!?

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock Blank
Content: 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Color: Dyed by Vera with Yellow and Orange Wilton's Icing Dye
Care: Machine Wash and Dry

Needles: US 1
Size: US 9 Children

I am not going to lie, I loved making these.  The texture is just so nice.  I will be making the husband a pair of socks after the New Year with this same texture.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dyeing to Try

I have wanted for some time to try self-striping yarn, try to dye some of my own that is. I have been watching podcasts (Gentle Ribbing, The Dyer's Notebook, and I have been going through past episodes of Fiberista Files.)that talk about dyeing in general and I just couldn't put it off any longer.



The yarn was originally Lion Brand Sock-Ease in the color Marshmallow, but I used Black Cherry Kool-Aid and Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid to dye it red and blue.  I wound it a specific way on my Niddy Noddy to get an even amount of stripes per each color and dyed it up.  There is a small gap of white between each color transition which was intentionally, but we see how the effect of that is when actually knit up.

The only downfall, was that there wasn't quite enough blue-raspberry dye so there are some white specks in the blue. I used 4 packs blue and 4 packs red and the yarn soaked up all the dye with some anomalies. So I guess I needed 5 of each.

I plan to use this yarn to knit Justice's next pair of socks.  I was thinking about trying the Breaking Hearts sock pattern with it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The End is just the Beginning

As many of you guessed, the whole spinning wheel venture left me wanting a wheel. My loving husband for my Birthday/Christmas present purchased me a Kiwi 2. This wheel comes with a high speed whorl also!

So here she is:

I stained her an orange color. It didn't look so bright in pieces, but she's definitely orange put all together. The husband says that it looks like she went tanning and stayed in there a little too long so she turned orange.


I am starting off with another Knit Picks Full Circle roving in the Caramel color.

I am very happy to have her, but Wookie doesn't like the wheel.  He will occasionally come up to it and bark at it.  So the craft room is now locked when I am not in there because Wookie has started taking some of his annoyance out on my crafting items.

Which is quite ridiculous, because he is just as spoiled as he ever was.  :)  Maybe he is too spoiled!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Inspirations

Knitting Inspirations:

I started watching which is a nice video-podcast that I recommend, anyways, there was discussion about afterthought heels and she linked to this Improving Afterthought post, which I think next time I knit myself a sock I will try.

Recipe Inpirations:

This Firecracker Chicken sound good! You could make it more paleo by skipping the cornstarch and putting less sugar in it. I find you rarely need as much as they suggest, I will probably try it by halving the sugar listed.

I use to use this blend of tomato powder and basil for pork sometimes and I loved it, but the kind I bought had other things in it that I no longer want to consume, so I will need to be making my own Tomato Powder because it's almost impossible to purchase by itself.

This Pumpkin Cake Roll looks delicious and I am sure it wouldn't be too hard to convert into Gluten Free for a nice treat!

Ah, I am a huge fan of "upside down cakes" and this Cranberry Upside Down Cake looks delicious and if I use a similar theory to this Apple Coffee Cake for the batter, I think it would be delicious.

Not that I can have these, but for those who can, these Lemon Glazed Doughnuts look delicious!

Almond Brittle sounds delicious, the husband's aunt bought us some Cashew Brittle last year and it was delicious . . . although I have never been a fan of Peanut Brittle, so we shall see.

Paleo Toffee Caramels are something I so want to try! Everyone cross their fingers and hope I have Thanksgiving Saturday off so I can try to make these!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spinning on a Wheel

Well, hopefully today will be one of the last Saturdays that I have to work for a while, but we shall see.

Any who, onto the spinning. For my birthday weekend, which was at the beginning of October, a co-worker let me borrow her spinning wheel. I was super psyched because I had never spun on a wheel before.

Her wheel was a Kiwi and it was easy to learn on. I like to spin thin though, it's just my thing, so we had to compromise because at first it wasn't working. So here is my not so thin yarn:

It's from a bright roving I dyed a long time ago, but it was pretty to spin.

As you can tell, the skein is not very big and the yarn is Navajo plied and about a worsted weight.

So after we had our introductory period and I was a getting more comfortable with the wheel, I decided it was time to try my way of spinning again:

This roving is : Knit Picks Full Circle in the color Wolf. It was lovely to spin.

It was still a struggle with the spinning sometimes, but we agreed most of the time to disagree and went with it.  I have a nice size skein of 3-ply lace weight yarn.  Not sure what to do with it.



As you can tell, it's a little under spun in places and loosely plied.  If I had a high speed whorl when plying this it would look much better, but I am very proud for this being my first full skein on a wheel spinning.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spindling Finish Line

I know this week is a little blast from the past, but here is another, remember this dyed roving?

Well, I finished spinning it this previous weekend and love how it turned out!

This is my spindle full of the plied yarn.

A couple close-ups of the variety of color.


Here is my skein drying.

All twisted up.

A penny for comparison of thickness.

A little closer, it ended up being a fingering weight yarn.

As you can tell from the close-up, there are many plies in this yarn.  I spin very thin and this is a 6ply yarn.  I held two singles together while I Navajo plied them.

I didn't measure, but I have about a normal sock skein size, about 300 - 350 yards or so I would estimate. I plan on knitting myself some mittens of my own design.

I have more wonderful spinning to show you!  Just wait and see!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuscan Potato Soup

Do you remember this Tuscan Style Potato Soup from one of the Sunday Inspirations?

Well, I made it with little modifications. I substituted the butter for coconut oil, used home-made chicken broth, and instead of milk, cheese, and heavy cream I used coconut milk. I did not use the coconut milk whole, I did not shake it so the thick cream stayed at the top and only used that, about a cup and half or so.  I didn't add parsley or any of the greens she had listed as optional, but I do think they would work well in it, especially maybe some spinach.

My version is not completely paleo, because I did include the white potatoes still.

It looks a little different, but it was awesome tasting! It will definitely be something I make again in the future.