30 December 2010

Winding down

Quote of the day: 'Look Dozer, Mom made me a hat to match you!' Nothing like a boy and his dog ;)....if they look exhausted, it's because they are ~ they just got home from 12 hours of fishing in freezing weather!
What a great way to finish off an incredible 2010 ~ my husband finally said he would wear something if I knit it for him (it's been 4 long years but he finally succumbed!). Of course, he had to choose the most challenging thing I've ever made ~ 'We Call Them Pirates' ~ yes, I found this entirely more difficult than any of the lacework I've done. I'm really pleased with the results since fair isle, even tension, and then the added struggle of double-pointed needles the last 10 rows had me worried this thing would end up so binding that a 10-year old wouldn't be able to squash it down over their tiny noggin. It fits the hubby perfectly and he loves it (bonus!).

Now Kelli & I and a few old friends are getting ready to cast-on our 3rd annual New Years KAL on January 1st.  We've chosen the Advent Calendar Scarf for this year's project and I'm staying true to my ongoing promise to use stash yarn as much as possible going into the New Year.  I was surprised on Christmas Eve with a care package from a Ravelry friend (6toknit4) that contained a handknit pair of mitts (I love them!) and this beautiful skein of madelinetosh lace in 'Rose'......
I haven't knit anything in this colorway for myself so I'm excited ~ it will be a lovely shawl to wear on Valentine's Day this year in a dusty shade of pink.  Thanks, Lucy!  You knew I would put it to good use!

Anyone that wants to join us for the knit along is very welcome!  The more the merrier!  Happy New Year to everyone and I can't wait to see what wonderful things all our friends create in the coming year that will inspire us to push our own boundaries!

16 December 2010

Waking up and opening the shops~

Christmas coffee shops, one of my favorites. I got these on ebay years ago, and I look so forward to seeing them every year. Reminds me of Pike Place Market. Wanna go Melissa Christmas Eve day, when we're down that way?

15 December 2010

Handspun and Home Cookin'

Today Miss Melissa is one happy girl!  Scored big at last nights Snohomish Knitters Guild gift exchange ~ I got to bring home 194 yards of handspun baby alpaca that guild member Tina made.  It's my first skein of handspun (ever!) and I'll have to find just the right project for it ~ it's oatmealy in color and so so soft.  I can't wait to use it.  Thanks so much, TINA!

I also got to meet my new friend Tamra (aka Snohomish Shepherdess for those of you that have been checking out the blog recently) who made my night even better by sharing a jar of her recently canned Orange Marmalade.  I just might be more excited about it than the yarn (gasp!) ~ orange is my favorite flavor and I may attempt a loaf of homemade bread this weekend (uncharted territory!) so I can break the seal on the jar and try it.  It's so pretty I almost hate to eat it up but I'll resist the temptation to save it and let you know just how yummy it is soon......very soon ;)

Thanks to all my tablemates last night for making my first official meeting so much fun ~ the food and the music and the camaraderie were worth the pain of my early wake up call this morning!  Looking forward to next month ~ another meeting AND a train ride to Portland (toot toot!)

Missed you last night, Kelli!  This homebody did ok on her first solo venture out into the knitting world ~ you should be proud of me!

13 December 2010

It's a Savory Kind of Day

I think I may officially be burned out on cookie baking ~ today I moved on to other yummy munchy not-so-traditional holiday fare.

I whipped up a batch of these Salty Sweet Bar Nuts (Country Home Magazine November 2002) ~ I generally don't like lingering food smells in my house but after making these, the whole place smells of fresh rosemary, which I love!  And aside from that, they taste good, too ~ just the right amount of salt, brown sugar and a zing of cayenne pepper.  These will be great in a care package I'm putting together for a new friend ~ any guesses as to who that person is?!?!

Tomorrow is my first Snohomish Knitter's Guild monthly meeting as an official member ~ we're having a gift exchange and appetizer party.  I had to think of something that travels well since I have to work tomorrow and I'll have to cart whatever I bring around with me all day so I opted for Asian Party Mix from Cooking Light Magazine.  Everyone seems to have their own favorite version of the old Chex Party Mix and this is mine.  It's packed with Asian flavors like wasabi and curry and it's hard to walk away from once you start munching!

12 December 2010


Here we are doing what we love best, hoping you all have a wonderful holiday with no dropped stitches.~ Melissa, Trudy, Carrie & Kelli~

11 December 2010

Chocolate Crinkles and Charity

Snohomish Shepherdess got my cookie baking in full swing this year ~ I'm remembering my favorite cookies growing up and I've been baking like a fiend.  Today was a double batch of Chocolate Crinkles from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  I have an older version than the link above ~ all ingredients are the same but I only used 3 eggs and 1 1/2c sugar per batch and they are great!  And although I'm sure they are wonderful with turbindo sugar on top, we always had them with powdered sugar so I will never use anything else!

My husband and I have been hearing quite a bit on the news about Toys for Tots and how bare their shelves are this year due to the economy.  We've also, on many occasions this year, talked about how lucky we are that we've been virtually unscathed by the hard times that most people we know are facing.  We've made it a point to be more charitable in 2010 than we have in the past, with donations to Heifer International and Locks of Love.  And last night we decided to jump in the car and hit a local store and fill a shopping cart with donations for Toys for Tots.  My husband has donated a football every year for as long as I've known him, and I'm fairly certain even long before that.  But this year, the sky was the limit and boy, did we have a great time doing it!  If you need something to get you into the holiday spirit, I highly recommend donating to a charity that is close to your heart and means something to you.  It's money well spent and the feeling of knowing that you have contributed to making someone's struggles maybe just a little bit lighter for a moment is worth any amount of money you can spare, no matter how small.  I think we will make this a new family tradition and do it annually ~ it was one of the most fun things we've done together all year!

A Confession

Dear mom ~
I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you that when you used to bake ahead for the holidays and stash cookies away in the freezer, I discovered just how much MORE I love Grandma's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies when they are frozen.  I prided myself on my ability to sneak just enough that it was never discovered.  Only problem is, I am still sneaking them ~ out of my freezer, and telling my husband that I do it.  Major faux pas ~ now he knows how much he likes them frozen. 

I am going to have to make more before the holidays.  But I think I'll wait til just before Christmas, otherwise, those too will somehow dwindle away and I'll be making a third batch.

From your sneaky daughter ~

06 December 2010

'S' is for ~

Snickerdoodles and snowflakes ~ see, Kelli, I'm baking and knitting ;) ~ recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook and also available online here.

05 December 2010

You know what they say about imitation.....

The recipe for the cookies on the left can be found here.  And, yes, Snohomish Shepherdess, they are perfect!

The cookies on the right are a treasured family recipe that I will gladly share ~ I think these are also perfect but then again, it's one of my grandma's cookie recipes and for me brings back all sorts of childhood memories .  Hope anyone who bakes these loves them as much as I do!


Cream together:
3/4c softened butter
1c brown sugar
2 eggs
3T milk
1t vanilla

Sift together and stir into above:
2c all-purpose flour
3/4t baking soda
1t salt

Stir into above:
2c oatmeal (not instant!)
12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Enjoy :)

03 December 2010

Accidental Alliteration

I try hard to limit my online social networking so that it doesn't eat up all my free time, so there are really very few blogs that I follow religiously ~ I can count them on my thumbs.

The one that I've been reading the longest is Wendy Bernard's Knit and Tonic.  She's a wonderful writer with a dry sense of humor and she says what she thinks about the knitting community and 'following the rules', or in her case, going against the grain.  She's also an amazing designer and a strong believer that unless you just go for it and try something, you'll never learn anything.  She doesn't pull any punches on that topic.  It's interesting to read about the design process and get some insight into the feedback you get flooded with (both positive and negative) by putting your patterns out to the public. 

The other, and most recent blog that I've been following....and to be honest, I'm so excited that there are almost DAILY posts!....is Snohomish Shepherdess' Sheep, Spinach and Strawberries.  She was at the Snohomish Knitter's Guild meeting where the KnitWit's did their presentation last month.  I don't think I met her but I can't be certain ~ I met quite a few new people and it's a complete blur as to who they were.  I'm hoping to meet her in a few weeks at this month's meeting.  Anyway, to get to the point, I discovered her blog a few weeks ago and I am completely hooked!  I feel like I'm sitting in her kitchen listening to her tell stories, and I can almost taste all the wonderful recipes that she shares as she whips things up in her kitchen.  Beware ~ here comes the promised alliteration.  I made a quick list of all that I love about her blog and here it is: Friends, Family, Food, Farming, Fiber, Fabric, Photos, Canning, Cooking, Crafting, Quilting, Knitting and Noshing.  If you have any interest in the above topics and you haven't checked her site yet, I highly recommend it!

I am so inspired to get back in the kitchen and break out my cookbooks ~ I've fallen into a rut and her blog has given me the itch to start trying new recipes again and get the canning supplies my father-in-law recently picked up for me at a garage sale (THANKS!) so that I can experiment with small batches of some of the recipes that she's shared.  After hearing about Snohomish Shepherdess' Pickled Jalapenos, my husband shared a memory of Jalapeno Jam that his beloved, and very missed, Grandma Grace used to make when he was a boy, and he's asked me to attempt a batch.  Now to find a recipe!  Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I should mention, also, that she was kind enough to mention the 4 of us KnitWits in her most recent blog post, in which she shared some wonderful family photos, stories, and recipes, and if you're so inclined, you can read it here.  If you're like me, it will make you think about all the people in your life that have travelled along beside you.....and leave you craving a big spoonful of Orange Marmalade.