Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogger Hiatus

Sadly I have to announce that I need to take a blog hiatus.  My life has taken some wonderful twist and turns these last few months.  Because of all the exciting new opportunities my schedule has become jammed packed with a crazy amount of work and I am finding it hard to keep up with the blog.  I want to make sure that the blog is up to my high standards and am having trouble with keeping up with my self imposed deadlines and quality.  Therefore I will be taking sometime off from the blog till my life becomes a little less hectic.  That means I should be back to the blogging world no later than Thanksgiving.  I want to thank all my readers for their commitment to this blog and I hope that upon my return to the blog I will be able to give it the time and attention it deserves.  Until then, keep knitting, sewing, surfing and just plain being awesome.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alchemy Hour Sale

I honor of my birthday week I have made a coupon code to be used at Alchemy Hour.  From today till Sunday you can get 20% off your purchase at Alchemy Hour by using the code Bday20.

Don"t forget to enter the pattern giveaway!

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Link Love

Link Love is back!  I've missed doing this type of post, I love sharing my favorite DIY and recipes that I find around the internets.  So with out further ado, here are some great posts from the past few weeks from some of my favorite blogs and websites. 

Burda Style
1. Want to try out the peplum trend?  Learn how to refashion and old top or dress into a flouncy peplum over on Burda Style's blog. 

Good Knits
2. Need that certain something for your Halloween costume, or just want to have fun pretending to be a masked crusader?  Then get your crochet hooks read because over on Good Knits there is a free pattern for  simple mask

Cup of Jo
3. Brussel sprouts are one of my favorite fall and winter veggies and I keep seeing them at the farmers markets and whole foods.  I usually make mine with garlic and balsamic vinegar, but I am excited to try Jo's Best Brussel Sprouts You'll Ever Have.

A Pair and a Spare
4. I love elbow patches and what could make them any better? Sequins patches!  

Delightfully Tacky
5. And what fall day isn't complete without a good hardy soup?  Delightfully tacky has a yummy recipe for Thick Tomato Soup.  I will be making this very soon. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recipe: Pumpkin Butter

Last fall I made apple butter, a project I intend to do again, but I decided to try making pumpkin butter this year.  It's stupidly easy and if you have a slow cooker even more so.  Some things you will need: 

1 Pie Pumpkin, now the size of your pie pumpkin will determine how much butter you can make.  Since this was my first try I purchased a small two pound pie pumpkin.  (Reminder! Some of that weight is seeds.)
Brown Sugar
Apple Pie Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice.  The ingredients are very similar and if you don't have either of these some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves will do the job. 
One clean jar to store your pumpkin butter.  

I started by cutting my pumpkin down the middle.  Not a small feat as this guy had a tough skin.  I hollowed out the seeds then placed them flat side down in a pan with about 3/4 cup of water in it and baked these puppies at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

After backing the insides are soft and easy to scoop out. 

I placed the pumpkin in my slow cooker with 1 cup water, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons apple pie spice.  I placed the slow cooker on low and covered with the lid.  The pumpkin will get even softer in the slow cooker and once the pumpkin turns from bright orange to a more burnt orange color it is time to take the lid off.  

This is where the magic happens.  Take the lid off the slow cooker, but leave the pumpkin mixture in the slow cooker for a few more hours.  I left mine in for about four hours.  This lets the liquid evaporate from the mixture making it into a think paste.  

Stir your pumpkin butter occasionally and when you think it is think enough transfer your pumpkin butter to a blender and blend till it is smooth.  That's it. Done.  I placed mine in a mason jar and put it in the fridge.  It should last about a month maybe two if i keep it cool and the lid on tight.  

P.S. I've been having too much fun with picmonkey's Halloween affects

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Knitting Update

I've been in completion mode these last few weeks and have been finishing projects left and right.  The only problem now is I'm not sure what to knit next.  It's time I start swatching and designing again.  This means a strict ravelry diet till I get my sketches and swatches done.  The above project is a simple cowl I've been knitting in my down time.  I'm almost done with it and can't wait as this yarn has tried to be two other things before I got it right on the third try.  
I also blocked the lace Abalone and am very pleased at how it turned out.  Now I just need to style it and get some use out of it.  The weather finally broke this weekend and it's back to feeling like fall again so I'm sure this will get worn.  
Here's the other sweater project I've been dragging ass on.  I started this back in June and then took a break to work on some Christmas gifts.  Now I'm in the home stretch.  
I was finishing the sleeve up the day I took this picture.  Two episodes of the daily show and back to the body of the sweater.  I stopped working on the body because I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn to make full length sleeves with thumb holes.  The plan was for a long sleeve hoodie with a pocket in the front, but I think I only have enough yarn for a long sleeve hoodie and no pocket. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stitch Guide: Old Shale II

Just like with feather and fan you can add a purl ridge into old shale.  This can add texture to your knit piece and can make the knitted fabric look very different.  This segment is short, but if you want more info on how purl ridges change the look of a knitted fabric check out my posts on Feather and Fan II and III.  A lot of the same principals apply to Old Shale; the stitch pattern is exactly the same as feather and fan you are only changing the method of increasing. 

Remember all our feather and fan and old shale stitch patterns are written for a multiple of 18 stitches.  

Old Shale With a Purl Ridge
Worked Flat
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (M1, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Purl All Stitches
R3: Purl All Stitches
R4: Purl All Stitches

Worked in the Round
R1: *(K2tog) 3x, (M1, K1) 6x, (K2tog) 3x*
R2: Knit All Stitches
R3: Purl All Stitches
R4: Knit All Stitches

Old Shale, Old Shale II

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BSJ's for the Potter Twins

My best friend from back home just because a dad.  A dad to two tiny twin girls.  How awesome is that, two babies all in one shot.  I haven't heard much from him since the little ladies have been born, but I'm sure him and his wife have their hands full with two newborns.  To show him my love and support I knit him two of my favorite baby items for the girls.

Twin Baby Surprise Jackets for the little Potter ladies!

Sweater A

I knit them using two balls of different striping yarn and stripped them in alternating colors makeing two sister jackets.  My thought was these two bitty babies would be put in identical outfits for most of their early lives and I wanted to make them something that was the same, but different from each other.  The end result was two BSJs in the same colors, but with different alternating stripes.

Sweater B

These also came out a bit big for the girls, but I figured they would be able to wear them once the weather turned really bitter in Upstate New York.  The will keep cozy in these super soft, super warm, super wash wool BSJ's.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dinner Date and a New Dress

Here it is!  The completed dinner date dress.  I love making the Anda because there are unlimited possibilities with this dress pattern.  The only down side is that you have to come up with a way to cinch your waist in or you can get lost in this dress.  I bought some pretty velvet ribbon and fastened it with one of my many vintage pins for an unexpected belted look.  Necxt time I wear this though I'm going to go for a contrasting color at the waist. 

Simon and went out for our second wedding anniversary this Friday and had the best meal we have both ever eaten.  We went to a restaurant in Queen Village call Cochon.  Let me say that this tiny eatery packs a punch.  It's built on a corner and is an odd shape and the kitchen is tiny.  The interior is decorated beautifully and all of these wonderful quirks really add to the places atmosphere.  

Cochon specializes in well pork and you would hope that they make a mean piece a pork with a name like Cochon (French for pig).  They have other items on their menu such as beef and sea scallops, but if a place is advertising what their good at through the name of the restaurant order something that has the token ingredient.   

The highlight of the dinner was the butternut squash soup that Simon and I both had.  It was absolutely amazing and had roasted gizzards sprinkled on top.  Another item that totally wowed us was the poor man's pudding.  It was a short bread pudding with a warm caramel sauce served with a scoop of bacon, yes bacon ice cream melting on top.

All in all it was a great place to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to justify going again.  My birthday is coming up in less than a month.