Monday, March 14, 2016

Lavender Strawberry Free-Form Pie for "Pi Day"


Less than a week from the first official weekend of spring and we're dreaming of strawberries....
Wait, no need to dream!



It's "Pi Day" so let there be pie!



Inspired by A Pretty Life in the Suburbs recipe for "Rustic Free-Form Strawberry Pie," I changed up some subtle flavors and I'm pretty sure this will be a go-to recipe year round (with different fruits maybe???). I used French lavender sugar bought at the San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market and lavender plum jelly from Friend in Cheese Jam Co..


Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (12x12 inches)
  • 5 cups strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lavender sugar
  • 2 tbsp lavender plum jelly for glazing
Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet, with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar on the parchment paper. Place puff pastry on top. Set aside. 
  4. Cut strawberries in half (or quarters if really big).
  5. Place the strawberries in a bowl, and mix them with the sugar and cornstarch (I accidentally left them sitting in the bowl for too long and ended up with some soggy sugar on the bottom of the bowl which I didn't add to the pie because I didn't want the pastry to get really soggy - next time add strawberry mixture to pie immediately after mixing! So the original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar but I probably ended up with 1/4 cup in the pie which worked well for me!). 
  6. Pile the strawberries onto the center of the pastry.
  7. Fold the edges of the pastry over to cover the outer edge of the fruit pile. Overlap as needed.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and brush the pastry.
  9. Sprinkle the lavender sugar on to the pastry.
  10. Place the pie into the oven, then immediately turn down the heat to 375 degrees.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes...until the pastry is golden brown.
  12. When the pie is done baking, remove it from the oven.
  13. Heat up the jelly for about 30 seconds in the microwave, then brush it onto the pie.
  14. Let your pie sit for a while before serving.
  15. Serve with ice cream or whipping cream or enjoy as is!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Green Juice and Some Fun

Winter time can be a little tricky to get in fresh veggies when nothing is growing outside but icicles. We aren't frequent juicers here but have recently enjoyed these "green juices" to get in a little more "green" in our day!


Green Juice for Two (yields approximately 30 ounces):

3 cups organic kale+spinach+chard
2 stalks organic celery
1 organic yellow carrot
1 peeled organic orange
11 oz organic coconut water

Blend on "whole juice" Blendtec option.

Cheers!

Looking at the ten day forecast, however, I'm pretty sure the coldest of winter may be over! Not saying there's no more snow or no more ice or no more below freezing temperatures. Just saying, that we're likely not going to see any below zero temperatures for the rest of the season!

Being silly with my girl. 
And you know what else? I'm wearing fun necklace today. No occasion other than just doing it because I want to! Do something to make yourself smile today!

There's no reason you can't dress up with a chunky necklace any day of the week! #WorkItWednesday
Never tired of watching my little artist hard at work! (She requested "rainbow hair" today!)

And one more random piece of fun.... Condensation on the front door plus a paintbrush make for lots of fun (and no mess!)!

video

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Teething/Drool/Suck Pads for Baby Carrier


I recently bought a set of KAMsnap pliers and snap buttons. I am so hooked. They are cute, easy to use, and look so neat and clean!


Soft structured baby carriers like those by Ergo, Beco, Tula, etc. have similar strap widths and thicknesses so this pattern can pretty much fit any of them (unless you're really particular about an exact fit). I've tried a pair of the pads on an Ergo Performance and a Tula and they fit really well!

This set is going to a mom-to-be's new Beco Soho!

Hoo Hoo!
The pattern I based mine off of uses just two layers, the main fabric and the backing fabric. I used three layers on mine - the main fabric, an inner layer of batting or fleece, and a backing fabric that can be the same as the main fabric or a different fabric to make it a fun reverse!

Super snuggly in cotton flannel and baby blue minky! Love the multi-colored buttons.

Sweet Tweets!

Fun and practical, these teething/drool/suck pads protect (better to wash the pads over and over than wash your carrier over and over!) and accessorize your carrier. They also make great gifts!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Friendly Fair Isle Hat (knit)

Frosty Bubble

It has been a little chilly lately. Warmed up a little last weekend which slightly melted the snow. Then, temperatures dropped again to freeze everything to sheets of ice. Perfect timing for a wool-blend fair isle hat that reminds me of snow and snowflakes!


Inspired by Purl Soho's Friendly Fair Isle Hat Pattern.

Materials

  • Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman and Sky
  • US 11 (8.0mm) 16 inch circular knitting needles
  • stitch markers
  • yarn needle
  • large Clover pom pom maker
Followed pattern for "Kid Size" and with finished measurements of 19 inches in circumference and 9 inches deep (without pom pom) which comes to the "Adult Small" finished measurements which fits my head easily as well as my husband's large head. I used a thicker yarn and slightly bigger needles than the pattern specifies. 






Blue skies today with sparkling snowflakes that fall like glitter from he sky! Didn't catch it on video but you can imagine the magic! 

Happy snow day!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Leg Warmers for Mama in Teal (knit)

So I decided to give double pointed needles another try. I love a seamless finish so that's driving me to keep buying double pointed needles....


And ... I think I'm a double pointed needles convert now! They're pretty awesome!

Materials
  • 2 balls of Loops & Threads Powdery in Turquoise (I got through a little more than 1.5 leg warmers on one ball of yarn)
    • 126 yds/116m; 3.5oz/skein
    • 85% acrylic, 15% nylon
    • hand wash warm. Do not bleach. Dry flat. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
    • bulky (5)
    • 4" x 4" = 12S x 18R with US 10 (6.0mm) knitting needles
  • set of four US 10.5 (6.5 mm) double pointed knitting needles (my gauge: 1"x1"=3Sx5R)
  • yarn needle
  • stitch marker

Instructions
  • Long tail cast on 32 sts. Divide onto three needles. Place stitch marker and join by knitting the first st on the left hand needle to the working yarn from the ring hand needles and be careful not to twist sts. Make sure the cast-on edge is running around the center of the square. 
  • R1-6: *K2, P2; repeat from * around for 2x2 ribbing.
  • Knit for 55 rounds (stockinette st).
  • Repeat R1-6.
  • Bind off loosely.
  • Weave in ends.
  • Repeat steps above for second leg warmer.
Finished Measurements
I forgot to do measurements before boxing them up to send out for a dear mama-to-be's birthday present! They should be similar to the measurements for Leg Warmers for Mama in Rose (knit).

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fingerless Mittens (knit)


Some times you need your fingers accessible for getting keys out of a pocket or pulling money out of your wallet or for getting a good feel of of the fabric when babywearing outdoors. These fingerless mittens do the trick! They knit up quick with bulky yarn and you only weave in two ends.


Materials
  • Lion's Pride Wooldspun in Fisherman
    • 80% acrylic/20% wool
    • bulky (5)
    • Product Care Instructions: Items made from this yarn may be laundered through the use of hottest available water, detergent or soap, agitation, and a machine designed for this purpose. A machine dryer may be regularly used at the hottest available temperature setting.
  • four US double pointed needles
  • yarn needle
Instructions
  • Cast on 28 sts. Divide evenly among three dpns and join, being careful not to twist sts. K2, P2 ribbing until cuff measures 3 inches. 
  • Stockinette for another 3 inches (6 inches from bottom edge).
  • Bind off 5 sts for thumbhole. Continue stockinette pattern in the round until you come to the bound off sts and cast on 5 sts.
  • Continue stockinette for 4 rounds.
  • Change to K2, P2 ribbing for 6 rounds.
  • Bind off loosely.
  • Weave in ends.
  • Make the second half using same instructions above.

For reference, I wear a size extra small glove. If you would like these longer or shorter, adjust by knitting more rounds of ribbing and/or stockinette. For my next pair, I may try binding off 6 sts for the thumbhole and only casting back on 3 sts so the thumbhole isn't as big and the top ribbing is a little more snug!

Hug that mocha!
Stay warm!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wrap Around Chunky Knit Sweater (knit)

It's cold. Really cold. Like below 32F for at least another week cold. In fact, we're looking at staying below zero with windchill for days (and we have had several of those days already). Like instant booger-freezing cold. 


You know what? That's totally fine by me. Personally I say you can always dress to be warmer but there's only so much you can do to cool down when it's too hot (like +100F). Been there. So what do you do when it's that cold?


You hibernate. You bake cookies. You get the fireplace going. You do lots of art projects. You dress in more layers than you can move in should you choose to go outside (and you do). Remember those legwarmers? Yeah, you put those on and maybe do a little dance.


This is the first "bigger" sweater I've knit. I usually don't have the patience for bigger projects because I don't like the thought of spending hours and hours of time working on something I'm not sure will turn out or fit. The drop in temperature, the taking apart another project with this yarn, and the want to make Little Miss E a wrap around sweater motivated me to start and complete this project. 

Love the side ties.

Loose 3/4-length sleeves with seed stitch edging.
Learned how to use the "yo" (yarn over) technique to create little eyelet holes along the edge.

Length goes over hip and covers the bum.
Notes:
  • Followed 3 year old sizing from Lion Brand's "Baby Kimono" Pattern. Fits loosely on my almost-3 years old petite daughter. Will likely fit for at least a year or two!
  • Used 2-3 balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman (natural cream color); not entirely sure how much yarn I used because I took apart another project I was working on and don't remember how much yarn on used on that project.
  • Added on seed stitch border to sleeve ends and bottom hem (not a fan of the rolled hems here). 
    • Using US 13 (9.0 mm) 16" circular needles, picked up 22 stitches on sleeves. Completed seed stitch in the round for 3 rounds. Bind off loosely.
    • Switched to US 15 (10.0 mm) 29" circular needles to pick up stitches for bottom hem. Complete 4 rows of seed stitch pattern. Bind off loosely.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sunshine Leg Warmers for A Little Sunshine (knit)

These chunky yarn leg warmers in infant/toddler size knit up quickly! I used double pointed needles this time (instead of using straight and then seaming up) and loved it.


Materials
  • Loops & Threads Powdery in Gold
    • 126 yds/116m; 3.5oz/skein
    • 85% acrylic, 15% nylon
    • hand wash warm. Do not bleach. Dry flat. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
    • bulky (5)
    • 4" x 4" = 12S x 18R with US 10 (6.0mm) knitting needles
  • set of  four US 10.5 (6.5 mm) double pointed knitting needles (my gauge: 1"x1"=3Sx5R)
  • yarn needle
  • stitch marker
Instructions
  • Long tail cast on 20 sts. Split onto three dpns. Join in the round and place stitch marker.
  • R1-6: *K1, P1* repeat through end of row for 1x1 ribbing.
  • Stockinette for 25 rows.
  • Repeat R1-6 for 1x1 ribbing.
  • Bind off loosely.
  • Weave in ends.
  • Repeat steps above for second leg warmer.
Finished Measurements:
  • Circumference = 6.25 inches
  • Length = 7.5 inches
  • Best fits infants/toddlers. Little Miss E will probably enjoy them this winter and then pass them on to baby sister! For preschooler size I think I would CO 24 sts and make it 10 inches in length (for a little scrunchiness!). 

Leg Warmers for Mama in RosePolka Dot Striped Hat.

Tippy Toes

Oatmeal Date Cookies with Cinnamon Cardamom Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Last night at 8pm, I wanted cookies. So... I made cookies! 


These chewy oatmeal cookies are adapted from Smitten Kitchen's "Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies." They also have a fun filling of cinnamon cardamom chocolate cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmmmmm.....



Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Stir this into the butter and sugar mixture. Stire in the oats and dates. Head over to 350F. Using 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop, scoop cookies onto parchment-lined trays, about a dozen per tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. Edges should be golden. Let sit on hot baking sheet for a few minutes prior to transferring to a rack to cool. Store in airtight container. Make sandwiches with frosting recipe below!

Frosting

Ingredients
  • 4 oz Neufch√Ętel cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, cardamom, and cinnamon. Gradually add powdered sugar mixture, beating well until you reach spreading consistency. This makes approximately two cups of frosting. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Autumn Rainbow Toddler Cardigan (knit)

Baby sweaters knit up quick, especially with bulky yarn. Great little projects to practice on!



Love the asymmetry and self-striping yarn! 



Materials
  • less than 2 balls of Isaac Mizrahi Craft Yarn Sutton in Amsterdam
    • 1 ball is 68 yds, 4oz
    • 85% acrylic, 15% wool
    • recommends US 17 (12.75 mm) knitting needles for 4" x 4" = 8S x 11R
  • used US 15 (10.0 mm) 29 inch circular knitting needles (gauge: 4" x 4" = 9S x 12R)
  • yarn needle
  • stitch markers
  • large button

Finished Measurements:
  • chest circumference = 20 inches
  • back waist length from top of collar to bottom hem = 10.5 inches
  • armhole depth = 4.5 inches
Notes: 
  • Inspired by Taiga Hilliard Designs' "Wee Zippy" pattern.
  • Followed pattern above but used bulkier yarn and bigger needles to make it a bigger size. Finished measurements approximately fits for 12-18 month old. 
  • For the repetition of rows 11 and 12, repeated until sweater measures 6 inches instead of the 4 inches specified in the pattern.Wanted a longer length to go over the hips. Plus, needed a longer length due to age.



Friday, January 8, 2016

Leg Warmers for Mama in Rose (knit)


With temps in the single digits and negatives (without factoring wind chill yet!) starting tomorrow, we went to the library to stock up on books and are ready for some pajama days ahead! What better to snuggle up with than over-sized sweaters, leggings, and leg warmers????


Materials
  • 2 balls of Loops & Threads Powdery in Red (I got through a little more than 1.5 leg warmers on one ball of yarn)
    • 126 yds/116m; 3.5oz/skein
    • 85% acrylic, 15% nylon
    • hand wash warm. Do not bleach. Dry flat. Do not iron. Do not dry clean.
    • bulky (5)
    • 4" x 4" = 12S x 18R with US 10 (6.0mm) knitting needles
  • US 10.5 (6.5 mm) knitting needles (my gauge: 1"x1" = 3S x 5R --> 4"x4" = 12S x 20R)
  • yarn needle

Instructions
  • Long tail cast on 32 sts.
  • R1-4: *K2, P2* repeat through end of row.
  • Stockinette for 60 rows.
  • Repeat R1-4 for ribbing.
  • Bind off loosely. Cut yarn with 28 inch tail to complete invisible vertical seam, making a tube. 
  • Weave in ends.
  • Repeat steps above for second leg warmer.
Finished Measurements*
  • circumference = 10 inches
  • length = 14 inches
  • *measurements are unstretched and finished product is decently stretchy; adjust number of cast on stitches and stockinette rows as desired.





Wear them scrunched low. Wear them pulled up. Wear them in the house or outdoors with boots!

Checking out the beautiful snow!

Snow makes winter magical!
Going to try double pointed needles to knit in the round next time to avoid seaming!

Ruck Tied Under Bum (RUB). Natibaby Babywearing Loons Wrap. 100% Cotton. Size 4.