Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jam plan

Freezer Jam- It's so simple, quick and look at those darling little canning jars.  This is raspberry-strawberry freezer jam. It's delicious on scones, pancakes, and vanilla ice cream. I'm thinking about making clementine curd and Concord grape jelly too. Of course, those will be a little more involved than the freezer jam, but I'm beginning to love canning at the end of the summer. 

Cook book Dilemma

I am a cook book junkie.  I've collected more than my fair share of cookbooks over the years, but one thing I've noticed is that many of them sit, untouched on my hutch. They still look new. I peruse them every now and then and put them back. For instance, I've owned a couple of Martha Stewart cook books that I received as an intro gift when I joined a cook book club many many years ago. Yes, I belonged to a cook book club.  To my knowledge, I've never made anything out of them except the pie dough recipe. As both my cooking skills and tastes have evolved over the years, I've sold some and given away more. I check most cook books out from the library now.  Stacks and stacks of them! There are definitely more cook books published these days mostly in thanks to the popularity of the Food Network. I refer to often. I check to see how Alton Brown would make something Now that I have a Kindle, I've downloaded a couple of cook books there too. I'm not sure the Kindle is the right place for cook books.  Something gets lost from the hardcover edition to the digital edition, but that's a topic for another day.

 So, with that said, I have a question for anyone out there reading this. If you like cooking, do you collect cook books? Are there only a handful worth having? If so, what are your indispensible cook books? Do you prefer searching the web for culinary inspiration? Have any cook books been huge disappointments?

I'm definitely in the trimming-the-cook-book-collection mode. I've sold four cook books recently on the Amazon used marketplace and I continue to trim the fat, so to speak.  So, please tell me about your cook book collections or even if you don't have lots of cook books. I don't want to have these books just to have them. I want to use them.  Certainly there are definitely the go-to cook books and some come out only seasonally.  That's okay.  I'm more about having a truly smaller yet more loved collection. Tell me how technology has changed your way of thinking in the kitchen as well. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yarn Along: The Too Small Sweater

I should have known better. Really.  I should have known better. I started this sweater in July on our driving trip to California.  I knit the body of the sweater quickly and like I always do, I set it aside and cast on a new project. I didn't feel like picking up the stitches for the sleeves and so it sat in my knitting bag.  Then, I knit one sleeve and well, that wasn't so bad, but again, I put it away until last night. I stayed up late and knit the second sleeve. I knew it would not fitI made a bad choice. Liam was so small and I thought the 12 month size would be enormous when I started this project, but the babies both have had growth spurts recently. Since I let this sweater sit incomplete, Liam kept growing and well, the sweater didn't. I could barely get it over his head, but I was determined to get some photos since this will be the only time he wears it. I need to knit sweaters for both the twins and I just realized that's four sleeves! I better make sure I cast on the 18 month size given how much time it takes me to get to the sleeves!  Okay, I'm kidding, but I definitely see the effects of my lack of discipline. I also learned that I need to bind off more loosely.  It's really tight around the sleeves and bottom.  I should just go up a needle size and try to bind off loosely.  So, it isn't a total loss. I do learn a lot from my kntting failures and it's not a real  failure. I, at least, got a picture of Liam's first handknit sweater from mama.

I did manage to finish the hat I started last week, but it's too small for my intended recipient. Ugh! Tess quickly decided that it's her hat now.

As for reading, I'm still reading most of last week's reading, but I'm definitely in a funk. I'm just not finding enough time in my day right now. The twins are teething and are keeping me up more and more each night right now. I'm exhausted and I can really feel the fatigue today, but yet I keep on knitting no matter how tired I am.

Head on over to Ginny's today for the Yarn Along!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Molly Hat

I should have saved this for this week's Yarn Along, but I couldn't help but post this.  I finished this hat late last night. Actually, I made this for my friend's little girl, but I could tell last night that it was going to be too small. It isn't even going to fit Tess for very long. I'm still delighted with it anyway.  I love the color changes in Jojoland Melody Superwash yarn in the colorway Summer in Full Bloom (MS26).  This is the hat from last week's Yarn Along.  I guess I will start another hat for Ella this week and maybe I'll have it done in time for her birthday on Friday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Highlights from our Summer vacation


3082 miles
Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada
Las Vegas,  Discovery Bay, Gilroy Gardens, Santa Cruz, Monterey and then back to Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and Arches National Park
All pictures taken with my phone.
Should we try a drive like this again? Ask me next summer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yarn Along- a little sewing too

I am largely reading most of the same books that I was reading last week.  Luke and I finally finished The Penderwicks at Point Mouette and we started reading Tom's Midnight Garden last night. It's a book  that I missed as a child although I remember seeing it on the shelves at the libray. I don't know why. It seems like I would have been enchanted by this book. Well, I'm getting my chance to enjoy it now.

 I didn't finish the second sleeve on last week's sweater. I do things like that. I start new projects when I'm stalling on a project that seems too tedious to finish. It shouldn't be that big of a deal since the sweater is a 6 month size, but I still put it away. Next week, I hope to have several finished projects for the Yarn Along. The knitting bag is overflowing with gallon size Ziplocs with various almost finished projects. Anyway, I began a new hat and yes, it's another pattern by Alana Dakos.  It's the Molly beret and it's knit on size 1 and 3 needles. I don't mind using such small needles. I'm using JoJo Land  Melody and it has some interesting color changes.I see some deep orange coming up in my ball of yarn.

I also started a new patchwork quilt. I have been wanting to sew again lately and I've been inspired by some quilts I've seen on Pinterest. I found a quick pattern at the Moda Bake Shop.  I had a Layer Cake that I wanted to use for this quilt.  Somehow, I managed to cut some fabric, lay it out and sew a few rows together. I'd work on it now, but the twins are sleeping in their co-sleepers in my room and my sewing machine is in there too. I hope to finish the topper today, but I may be a little overly optimistic given everything else I need to do today!

Do check out other yarn adventures over at Ginny's today!  You might find something inspiring.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yarn Along

I organized my knitting bag the other day mostly because I am stalling on finishing at least three different projects.  I just want to move on and start something new, but I'm determined to finish the second sleeve on the baby sweater above.  I'm reading Practical Patchwork for inspiration on how to quilt my own quilts.  Typically, I send them out to be quilted, but I'd like to learn how to do a meandering stitch  so I can quilt my own projects.  I'm also reading Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys.  I'm listening to Friendship Bread on my MP3 which is nice to while I'm knitting, but I'm not getting much time to knit the past few weeks.  I usually knit at night after everyone has gone to bed, but the twins have been waking up much earlier lately demanding to be nursed. The babies are growing!

On the sweater, I'm using Liberty Wool in Starry Night which is nice to work with and has some interesting color changes, but I absolutely detest that horrible yellow stripe in this!

Don't forget to go visit Ginny for other cozy yarns and more good reads!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Daybook- The way overdue daybook

Outside My Window
Last night, around 1:30 in the morning, the bear was back. This time, we were prepared with a bear-proof garbage can.  This year, we decided to expand the living space in our basement by converting our tiny garage. So, the garbage can has to stay outside now and that attracts bears. We've been on a waiting list for a bear-proof garbage can for months.  There must be a serious high demand for these garbage cans here in Colorado since they seem almost impossible to find, but Paul found someone selling one on Craig's List.  Even though, it's bear-proof doesn't mean it's bear repellent! Anyway, we heard the can being knocked over early in the morning. Now, we need to find a space where the bear can't find it.

Now, it's late morning and it's overcast outside my window.  I don't mind since it cools things down considerably around here.  I'm expecting more rain.

I am listening to
Friendship Bread on my MP3 player. I keep trying to listen to this while I'm nursing at night, but I keep falling asleep and having to rewind.

I am wearing
faded jeans and an ugly stretchy light blue t-shirt.

I am pondering
so many things.  Mostly lists of things to do this month.  I am thinking about how the beginning of August always feels like the beginning of the end of Summer. I am thinking about organization and what things need to be purged. I'm pondering sewing curtains for Tessie's bedroom. I'm wondering when  I will have time for all my creative pursuits. I'm thinking about what creative endeavors I'd like Luke to try this year. He doesn't seem as interested in knitting anymore. I know he thinks kids will laugh at him if he mentions that he knits. It didn't use to bother him. I'm also thinking about style and color. I recently had my colors done. I'm fascinated by what color can do. I'm ready to incorporate some of these saturated hues into my wardrobe. I'm thinking that it's time to invest in some good clothing. I'm thinking about the upcoming transition into Autumn and I'm pondering our return to a more disciplined schedule.

I am reading
Manning Up
The Forgotten Garden (This is more like the forgotten book.  I just haven't been in the mood for it lately.)
The Practical Guide to Patchwork
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (reading to Luke)

I am creating

Well, as usual, I have too many projects on the needles.  I'm working on this little baby sweater for a friend's new baby boy.  I'm trying to tame the knitting bag and keep things organized.  I'm pondering themes for quilts for the twins.  I've purchased fabric for a pirate-themed quilt for one twin, but I haven't decided on the other theme yet.  I've been spending some time at the Fat Quarter Shop for fabric inspiration.  I'm also creating a lot of boards at Pinterest. I love Pinterest!  It's like clipping all those inspiring pages from various magazines all without the hassle of scissors and a mess!  So much inspiration there! 

Towards a Real Education
I am spending time with Sammy in the evenings.  We are trying to conquer Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons. Sometimes, he can be a little stubborn, but I know he looks forward to having time with me and I can see his confidence grow a little each day.

Luke is going to help me design his wildlife quilt.  We've collected lots of fabrics of bears, raccoons, deer, log cabins, evergreen trees etc. and I think he will enjoy being part of the process.

I've also been talking to Luke about learning to carve or whittle.  He's had a couple of books for a while and he expressed interest in trying to carve chess pieces. 

Reading aloud time with Luke in the evenings. I've committed to at least ten minutes a day so that we have a little time with just each other. This is part of our informal learning during the summer.  Reading aloud  has always been a vital part of our lives, but as I've mentioned before, our reading aloud time dwindled down to only about once a week during some of my pregnancy with the twins and during the early months after the twins' arrival. I know it's important to him because he reminds me every day. 

Towards Rhythm and Beauty
I am thinking about the small details that make a home.  These are those small things that I neglected over the foggy year of the twin pregnancy. Every day, I feel that I dwell more and more in possibility, but that often collides with reality.
August is different than the other Summer months. It's less care free. It's the month to gear up for the transition into my favorite time of the year. August feels like the month to prepare. I'm thinking about putting up jars of jam and canning pickles. 'm thinking about making sure we slowly transition back to regular bedtime (I'm thinking about Luke here. He's been staying up until 10pm these days reading The Far Side.)
I am thinking about transitions.

I am Hoping and Praying
for an inspiring school year for Luke and Sam. I'm hoping to begin the potty-training process with Tess.  I'm hoping that boys will have a prosperous year of learning all the time. I am hoping that I can create a workable routine and schedule that makes our days flow better.

In the Garden
Mammoth Sunflowers, a few strawberry blossoms, the hope for a pumpkin pie pumpkin, Chives, Basil and one ripe  tomato!

From the Kitchen
I perused the latest issue of Everyday Food and I got some simple inspiration. I've been in a cooking rut this summer. It's been evident in the amount of times we've had breakfast for dinner. Paul will cook up some eggs, bacon and/or sausage and rye toast when we're just out of ideas and I've been out of ideas forever.  Last week, I baked a batch of cream scones and we had Darjeeling tea, scones and sliced cucumbers for dinner. I'm needing to make a Fall menu that will simplify life in the kitchen. I'm thinking about having Luke write the list for me.

Around the House
the need for order.

One of my favorite things
I've just discovered Boulder Ice Cream in Coconut! I'm in love.

A few plans for the week
Celebrating my dearest friend's 39th birthday
taking a trip to the Farmer's Market to collect our weekly vegetables
baking a cherry pie (I have some Grandma Hoerner's Cherry Pie filling that needs to be used soon.)
finish knitting the baby sweater. I have one sleeve to go.

Picture Thought
Tessie out on the deck wearing various hand knit items on this overcast day.  It is almost cool enough to wear a sweater today.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The state of the knitting bag

Ugh! Hopefully, this will all be under control for this week's Yarn Along!

Liam today

I am loving those little golden curls.

Keeping Up

I started blogging in 2007.  I had been following several blogs for a while and I decided that I wanted to join the fun. I also thought that blogging would be an excellent way to document life with my family.  I wanted my blog to be to be my virtual scrapbook. No scissors required! Slowly, I built my blog with a full sidebar of links to my favorite  blogs. Everyday, I'd go to my blog and check out what was new in the blogosphere. At some point within that time frame, I got my first friend request for Facebook and like lots of people, I resisted joining. Did I really need another thing to check? Eventually, like most of my friends, I succumbed to the lure of Facebook.

Now, you could find me at Blogger and Facebook. I realized very quickly that "friend" means something else entirely in the Facebook world, but that's for another day. About the same time, I thought that my side bar was looking a little cluttered (Less is more even in the virtual world!) and  I moved all the blog links to  my Google Reader. I found it very nice to see all the new posts all in one place, but then I did miss seeing my friends' creative blogs that way. Only if I clicked through to a post would I get to see the beauty and individuality of those blogs. Soon after, I signed up for Twitter and well, I guess I haven't spent enough time over there to really make it work for me because I found it too "noisy" and distracting. I don't go there much.

Now, you could find me at Blogger, Facebook and Twitter. Do you see where this is going?  Everyone started to scatter to different social media. Blogging, although still my favorite way to communicate, took a back seat to the quick update abilities of Facebook and Twitter

Recently, I decided to clean up my Google Reader. There were  a handful of blogs that had been silent for a while, those who have gone defunct entirely and those who seemingly have lost their zeal for the blogging process altogether. It's a little sad when things change. Overall, I've been pleased with Facebook.  I've reconnected with old high school friends and even some of my family communicates more because of  Facebook. Being on Facebook doesn't make blogging less appealing. I suppose it makes me more choosy about what I blog about. I can write something quick or something with more depth. It's up to me.  My blog, even with my HTML limitations, seems to be the place that feels the most like mine. It's my little corner of the Internet. 

I still check my favorite blogs every day.  There are just fewer of them. Things change and things change quickly. I like my virtual world.  Despite being virtual, I've been constantly inspired to live more fully in the real world  and I think the world has become more interesting because of social media.  That seems like a paradox, but it's true.

Now you can find me here, Facebook, Twitter , Goodreads, Ravelry and now Pinterest.

Thanks to all of my online friends for making the blogosphere such a rich place to be!

What about Google +?  Should I join that too?