Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow and Knitting and Babies

We had another snow storm that came through over the weekend that left the trees looking otherworldly.  This is the part of winter I like.  It does seem that we are getting all of our snow at once, though.  Another storm is due in tonight that is supposed to leave us with a little less than a foot.  We saw a huge possum the other night and the birds seem to be more active right now so hopefully spring is starting to make its way despite the snow.

I finished the baby sweater, minus a button.  I haven't decided what to use yet. It fits her perfectly which I am both happy and sad about.  It certainly isn't going to last as long as I thought!  She is really coming into her own right now and it is so fun to watch.  She is sitting up really well without tipping over right away and has started her first crawling!

She scooches on her belly for the most part but did a couple of backwards 'steps' last night on all fours.  So exciting! Look at those teeth!

A detail of the mesh pattern:

The tutu is killing me.  I can't get enough of it! I didn't think I would be the mom who wanted to dress up my girl in frilly cutesy clothes but I tell you it is irresistible!

A new wreath project I just started to try and add a little brightness to our kitchen/dining room. It is a little too leggy right now but I think it has potential. I'll dig up the original inspiration photo that came from Pinterest when I find it.  It is a French craft magazine - you have to click through to get to the wreath but there are lots of great projects and inspiration in there.

I'll be yarning along over here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Moving and yarning along

The little sweater is moving along nicely.  I think I will be done with it today or tomorrow.  I think I am going to leave it short sleeved so that Willow can wear it for as long as possible.  I figure a long shirt under it for now transitioning to a short sleeve under if she needs it later during the spring.  I made the 12 month size but she is already in 12 month clothes! Hopefully she will at least get the spring/summer out of it.  

This is what I have for a little yarn stash right now.  I haven't weighed it out yet but there are two balls of DK (not including the grey and green from the sweater) the yellow is worsted weight and the dark grey is a cotton blend.  I have no idea what to do with it!  Willow has enough hats and we are getting out of bootie season.  What do you do with your small balls of yarn?  I could do another sweater with the green edging I used for the above sweater but I don't want to do the same pattern again...any ideas or favorite Ravelry stash busters?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


As promised here is the recipe and the result of the America's Test Kitchen chewy chocolate chip cookies take 2.  These are really fantastic!  How fantastic?  I made then and they were gone within 2 days (20 between me and Kevin - Eliot probably ate 1.5).

They are huge at about 4 inches across, chewy and soft on the inside with a light crunch on the outside.  So good that I doubled the recipe the next weekend and we fought over who got to bring more to work with them to win favor with our coworkers.  I brought mine and they were gone within minutes, seriously I didn't even hear anyone in the kitchen getting them and they were gone!

* A few of my own changes:  I used Earth Balance 'butter' because I can't do dairy right now with Willow's intolerance.  I didn't have any brown sugar so I used all white sugar and cut it by about 1/4 cup and subbed molasses.  I used 1/3 whole wheat pastry flour (love that stuff, tastes like white flour) and no one knew the difference.

For best results, bake only one sheet of cookies at a time. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their chewy texture when cooled.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10⅔ ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
2. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chips until incorporated.
4. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
My favorite cookie holder, Ernie.  We had this as kids and I used to get really upset when the head was taken off to get the cookies out.  My brother found this for me at an antique shop in TX and brought it all the way to me for Christmas a few years ago.  I don't think Kevin has quite the love for him like I do but he keeps our cookies safe.

I hear the NY Times chocolate cookie is also a contender in this race for the best chocolate cookie.  If I am up for it after I come down from my sugar high I might give it a try.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sense of Accomplishment

The sense of accomplishment is fantastic sometimes.  Being able to start and finish a project like this in a reasonably short period of time makes me feel like I am somehow moving forward and still able to be creative while managing two kids.  Something about making things keeps me on an even keel.  I also like a challenge with each successive project.  This is the first lace knit pattern I have tried.  It is knit in a rectangle then sewn up along the sides to make the arm holes.  I used a worsted weight yarn, too so it went fairly quickly. 

This is the next project.  My first sweater!  It is in the same brand of yarn only in DK weight.  I have finished with the tricky part, the mesh pattern on the front and back so it is smooth sailing from here.  Now I have to figure out how to calculate the remaining yarn I have left.  I think Eliot will have to help me since his math skills have surpassed mine by now!

Some cute baby love.  I dug out some 12 month clothes for her last night because her tops are all too short in the arms and length now!  Growing like a weed.

A final photo to make you laugh.  Eliot gave Willow a set of rubber duckies for Christmas that have become her favorite pacifier.  Eliot has coined the phrase 'duckafier'.

Monday, February 11, 2013


The blizzard was an amazing thing.  The snow started on Friday morning and didn't stop until Saturday late day.  The most amazing part was the wind and fluffy nature of the snow.  It was blowing around so much you could hardly see past the window.  We woke up to snow drifts so high it was hard to open the doors!  

But, we never lost power or heat and so had a cozy day inside.  One of the highlights was cookie making with Eliot.  They were the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made.  I plan to make them again as soon as I pick up some dairy free chocolate chips again.  I think they deserve their own blog post so stay tuned.  

Here is Eliot eagerly waiting for the 10 minute countdown until we could take them off the baking pans and give them a test run.  

Eliot and Kevin ventured out during the blizzard to hike around the yard for about 15 minutes until they couldn't stand the wind anymore.  I waited until it stopped to check out the aftermath.

It is hard to tell how much actually fell because it was so windy.  I think the consensus is around 2.5 - 3 feet.

Eliot was trying to help the neighbors dig out their two cars.  They were 3/4 under snow!  I was very thankful to have a garage.  I don't miss parking bans living in the city.

I think it is supposed to rain today so we will see what happens to all of it.  I think a snowman or two is on the horizon.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Wintery Skills

Willow was excited to show off her new skills this weekend.  She flips to her belly and then works really hard to do push ups.  I love when she rests her noggin and then goes for more.  Flying is the best!

She has started showing some serious stranger anxiety.  She is happy to smile and laugh at people as long as she is in the protective arms of mom or dad but she won't even let my mom hold her right now!  

We went on an outdoor adventure to the field behind our house this weekend.  Eliot made me 'claim' each patch of ice as our own like real explorers.  It was nice to get out and walk around.  I certainly have not been getting enough exercise this winter.  Thankfully it is February now and the light is slowly sneaking back into the afternoons.  I also finished my little shrug for Willow this weekend and picked up a new pair of needles and stitch markers - on to the sweater!  

Friday, February 01, 2013

Crafts and Fairs

I dug up a few more pictures from our adventures over the last several months.  Here is Eliot in one of those big jumping contraptions at the Cumberland Fair.  I love that fair.  It certainly isn't the hippie goodness that the Common ground fair is but I still love it for all its tractors and giant animals.  It is in the town I grew up in and always feels like a welcome tradition when September rolls around.  Also, another excuse to eat fried dough.  

I sat and nursed Willow during the oxen pull thinking it would be a semi quiet place and I enjoy watching those huge animals.  I saw way in the back out of the way to be sure I wouldn't bother anyone.  Turns out it was excruciatingly quiet except for the commands of the Ox handlers and Willow deciding to scream full force.  All eyes turned on us and I bolted out of there as fast as I could.  

Here we are at Christmas time with Willow in her cute leg warmers and in my favorite of her tops (thanks again Heather!).  She is getting so big here.  

One last crafty project I finished up right before W was born.  It is a postage stamp rug made to be a seat cushion.  It is super simple to make.  I had some heavy duty twine left from the rock rug that I used along with a heavy needle.  After cutting wool scraps into basic square shapes I strung them onto long pieces of doubled up twine.  After I had a length of a few feet I started spiraling them together and sewing through the length a few times, similar to a braided rug.  I had meant to make a rug but a seat cushion was exactly what I needed.  It was the perfect place to sit post birth and nurse in the middle of the night or to sit and rock for hours and hours while she cried before I figured out the dairy problems.  It has since felted itself together a little bit (unexpected) giving it an even more sturdy mat like feel.  I think it would make a fun easy rug if I could find the right colors.  Maybe monochrome or white?  I like that it sits in my Grandfather's rocking chair.  It is where I remember him being the most and I tried to channel his calm, playful being during those long hours.  I think it helped.

Lastly a random picture from Halloween.  A vampire again - with the handsome 'rose' at his collar to woo the ladies, hehe.

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