Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knitting Up a Storm

I've done quite a bit of stash-busting knitting (plus and a few pieces with new yarn) over the last two months.  First up was a fish-shaped dishcloth I found on ravelry. I was hoping it would motivate me to do the dishes - it does not.  But it did use up the last of my lemon-lime kitchen cotton!

Then a sweet little baby sweater based on my Grandma Dot's pattern who taught it to my mom who taught it to me in turn. My mom loves making these so much that she sells them on etsy. I may put one or two up in her shop too. They are really a lot of fun to make. I'm really in love with yellow and gray as a color combo right now but yellow is not a good color on me - so I'm foisting it on babies instead!  My friend Sara loved it and cried at the fact that three generations of women in my family have knit this (Geoff points out that it is no great feat to make a pregnant woman cry).

Baby Quinn (in utero here) was born five weeks ago.
I knit up this sweet little summer weight scarf (pattern from Purl Bee) out of a free skein of yarn my mom got from Caron. It is soft, drapey (is that a word?) acrylic/wool blend that feels really luxurious - but it is a weird salmon color. I'm trying to figure out how to work it into my wardrobe, but I'm glad it is out of my stash.

Actually, it works with this outfit - so that's one.
 Next up were one year old sweaters for my cousin's baby Wyatt and my dear little friend Clara out of leftover cotton yarn.  I have a penchant for stripes so they came out in both sweaters:

For Miss Clara, the Confection Shrug

For Master Wyatt, the Candlestick Baby Sweater 
 And another baby sweater for the Christmas baby due to my friends Khytam and David.  This one had a sweet little monkey on it that matched the nursery patterns.  I love how the monkey turned out!

Khytam loved the sweater!

Close-up of the monkey.

And lastly, to keep my toes warm on our hardwood floors, some cuddly alpaca socks with turquoise toes and crochet trim.  I knit these on the way down and back to DC last week.

Our backyard is a blanket of golden leaves - so pretty!
 I was talking to my Khytam (who is a psychologist) and she asked me how I have time for knitting and I told her that I can't handle having my hands unoccupied while I watch TV or ride in the car.  She replied "You have a manic side I've never seen before, don't you?"  I suspect she may be right.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cookies, Cookies, and More Cookies

During October I made a lot of cookies for all sorts of wonderful people!  First up were some birthday cookies for two very special ladies - Veronica and Clara.  I got to use these cutters for the first time for Veronica's birthday. 

Happy 28th, V!

I had seen the teal and red color combination somewhere before and it stuck in my mind.  It seemed like a fun but grown-up combo and I like how it came out.  I used the same icing to make thank you cookies for my dissertation committee.  Simple circles with a heartfelt message (and dot edging).  I delivered them to my committee members with a card expressing how much I appreciated their help.  They all seemed touch when they received them and impressed that I had made them myself. 

A mountain of cookies!

The next weekend was Clara's first birthday party which had a butterfly theme.  I had seen lots of adorable butterfly cookies on the internet so I was excited to make some.  So excited, I may have gone overboard - there were a lot of leftovers.

Too Many Butterflies

I piped some thick lines of icing for the body and outline of the wings then filled it in and added dots and lines while the icing was still wet.  I added eddible luster dust to the wings, because - if Clara turns out to be anything like I was as a child - the pink and sparkley stuff will go out the window in a few more years.

So Cute!!
The party colors were purple, teal, and pink so I made a variety of butterflies.

Unfortunately, the first set of cookies I sent to Veronica got lost in the mail.  So I made some more cookies for her using the same batch of icing (she got sparkles too).  The sweet girly color palate that worked for Clara looked a little bit 80s on Veronica's cookies.  It reminded me of the opening credits for Saved by the Bell.  But I guess that is appropriate for a child of the 80s!

Luckily, these cookies arrived and Veronica got the chance to enjoy them!

Finally, I made some cookies as prizes for a baby shower I helped to host.  Since the shower took place on Halloween, I thought it would be nice to give the winners of the games something they could take home and share with their families.  I think the pumpkins are my favorite although the sanding sugar on the bat wings came out really well too.

Too sweet to be scary.

 I made some special ones for Geoff too.  Obviously, I had a little trouble with a ghost pun! 

I think I can declare that I have learned how to make flood cookies.  I'm addicted to making them now so they will certainly turn up around Christmas, I'm sure.  But for now, I'm crossing it off my list!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tardy Pumpkins

I meant to get a lot of things done before I left for the American Society of Human Geneticists conference in DC last week and most of them fell through the cracks – including posting pictures of the pumpkins that Geoff and I carved for Halloween. I’m quite proud of them, though, so I’m going to go ahead and post them now.

I really wanted to get a white pumpkin with orange flesh because I thought it would look really great with the witch carving I was picturing in my head. So we headed out to Tait Farms the Tuesday before Halloween and already the pickings were slim. There were many beautiful gourds left, but only two small white pumpkins.

Geoff went with the classic big orange pumpkin. Little did he know that the texture inside was like spaghetti squash which made it a real pain to clean out. But he persevered and carved this Lionel Ritchie pumpkin:

And I managed to convert come clip art I found online into a pumpkin of my own. I’m rather proud of it, it reminds me of the opening credits of Bewitched.

That is Gnome Chomsky peering over the pumpkin.
We had Kirk and Laurel over and made a whole night of it with spiked cider and apple cheddar scones. Belated Happy Halloween to you all!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tastes of Fall

I really love fall.  And since we will be heading for warmer climates come January, I'm particularly relishing it this year.  The weather has been surprisingly cooperative (considering last October saw a substantial snow before it was half over).  The air has been crisp and cool, but warm in the sun. 

We've had friends over for a bonfire to roast marshmallows in the cold, but not yet bitter, night air.

And I've been cooking lots of fall inspired meals.  Knowing that the winter here will be long and trying to eat seasonally and locally, I hung on to the tomatoes and corn of summer for as long as I could.  The apples and pears were the first to sneak into my market bag, but eventually the squash and pumpkins appeared on the menu.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes of late:

Triple-Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pancakes

Yes I cut my pancakes into one large square before eating it in smaller squares.  No I don't think that is weird.

Lentil Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash and an Egg on Top

Apple Cheddar Scones

Squash, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad

White Chili

Up next, homemade apple butter on homemade bread!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Half-Way There (Running on a Prayer)

Last Sunday (the 24th) I ran my first race - 5 km (a little over 3 miles).  "Run" is probably not accurate - but I ran about half of it and I finished under my goal time.  The day was beautiful and warm.  I felt great afterwards and it really motivated me to keep running - then it got cold and the motivation went away.  But I haver been climbing the mountain we live on about once a week.  The view from the top is amazing this time of year.

I really will miss autumn in the northeast, it is breathtakingly beautiful. Here are few gratuitous leaf shots for your enjoyment.

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