the fiona for nola

I love baby knitting.  Normally the patterns knit up quick and look adorable.  Plus baby’s aren’t so fussy about things flattering their body, because they pretty much look cute in everything.  The only bummer about baby knitting for me has been that of ten baby outfits I’ve made in the last few years this is the first where I know it’s a girl before she is born, so I could chose something really girly and beautiful.  I present to you the Fiona.

This was a great project for all my June travels.  This and the audio book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, got me through multiple flights and a few delays in transit. It also helped me make ALOT of friends on the airplane.  I had a lot of reading to do for my summer reading grant, but I just couldn’t put this down.  I actually finished it during the pictures before my brother-in-law’s wedding.

For those interested in knitting this: The pattern is slightly expensive and has a few errors in it.  I didn’t find the errors problematic because the lace pattern is pretty self-explanatory after the first or second repeat.  I deviated slightly from the pattern by knitting it in the round and found a lot of helpful suggestions on ravelry (see link above) on how to do this.


weekly csa wrap-up

wk 4 share: cucumbers, onions, red potatoes, tomato, beets, green beans, green peppers, parsley, spinach, lettuce

While we didn’t eat all the veggies this week, we really did pretty good given that we were out of town two of the days and ate dinner at a friend’s house on a third night.  What I am realizing is that we find a lot of good recipes that include veggies for sides, but it is harder to incorporate a lot of veggies into a main dish.  It feels like we do a fair amount of chicken and side-dish of veggies.  Tuesday we were able to eat a lot of the veggies because they were incorporated into the main dish, so if you know any sources for summery (no stews or hot soups) and tasty veggie-ful main dishes, let me know.

Tuesday: falafel, tstziki sauce and baba ganhoush – both from The New Best Recipe cookbook — and store-bought hummus
       veggies eaten: cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, dill
       comment: everything was great!

Wednesday: baked ziti with spinach and tomatoes and a salad
      veggies eaten: salad greens, carrots, cucumber, spinach
      comment: tasted great, but next time could do less sausage and a lot more spinach

Monday: grilled chicken with veggetable saute
      veggies eaten: carrots, zucchini, green beans

Recipe of the Week: Baked Ziti with Spinach and Tomatoes

trip to mount washington

For our anniversary David and I went to Mount Washington in New Hampshire for a long weekend of hiking and sight-seeing.  Here are the highlights in collage form.*

1. sunset over mt. washington     2. david and i in front of arethusa falls      3. starting on the owl’s head trail (little did i know that i would still be in pain three days later)     4. start of the trail to arethusa falls     5-8. diana’s baths     9. view from a scenic oerlook     10. view at the top of owl’s head trial (the photo is slightly off because david was tired and ready to head back)     11. diana’s baths     12. end of owl’s head trail, we were running low on water so david tried filtering water from the stream we crossed     13. frog we found on the owl’s head trail     14. picture at scenic overlook     15. view of the presidentials from the top of the owl’s head trail     16. scenic overlook     17. view of mt. washington from owl’s head     18. diana’s baths     19. view of mt. washington from our bed and breakfast     20. frankenstein cliffs     21. sunset at the scenic overlook     22. david ‘whittled’ walking sticks for us for the trek back down from owl’s head     23. arethusa falls     24. diana’s baths     25. top of a tree     26. roots of a tree     27. arethusa falls

*Since I made this collage in Picasa you can’t click on a picture to enlarge it, but in a couple days David will have edited the pictures and placed his favorites on his flickr stream.  You can access the stream in the bar to the right.  

embroidery + pillow = awesome

I think I have the embroidery bug.  Just hours after finishing the tattoo, I began an embroidered pillow.  I had been planning to knit a few throw pillows for our new chair, but this project seriously took like five hours, much shorter than knit pillows would and I already have my eye on my next TWO embroidered pillows: sunburst and sashiko.  The pattern is an adaptation of the sashiko robe from Embroidered Effects.

bring on the kitsch

I don’t know when my desire to learn to embroider began.  Perhaps it was the super cute tea towels my mom and mother-in-law both recently made me.  Maybe it was watching my co-basketball coach embroide in meetings.  Or maybe it’s the inevitable result of knitting.  Eventually the desire was too much to resist.  While home in Wichita at the end of June I started looking at embroidery books.  Once we returned to MA, I bought one from Amazon (Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart of the Sublime Stitching blog).

I initially planned to use this free t-shirt David had gotten from the strolling of the heifers parade (for more see David’s flickr stream), but my progress stalled quickly and I set aside the emroidery for over a week, which is saying something when my only ‘job’ is reading for class and crafting right now.  Just looking at the t-shirt you can see that it looked terrible.  First off the grey of the shirt was so dark that the colors didn’t pop.  Second, it was impossible to cover the white lines of the pattern, even when using all six threads of floss.  Finally my stitches were really uneven, with big gaps in between them in places.

Then as I flipped through my embroidery book, I discovered that t-shirt material, while perhaps the most appeal material to embroidery on because of its usefulness (you can wear your design) is actually really difficult because of how stretchy it is.  So I started anew on this crazy little tattoo embroidery pattern from my book.  I finished in a few short days.  It actually made me bummed when my oil change was done in less than an hour because it meant I had to stop embroidering.

The finished project left me with two questions.  A) What am I going to do with a very bright, embroidered tattoo?  I mean that’s not normally the design aesthetic of David and my walls.  I’m also trying to convince him that we should hang the 2011 Summer Quilt on the wall in the guest room and I think arguing that this too should go on the wall might hurt my cause.  B) What to embroider next?  Do any of you have cool websites or books that have fun embroidery patterns you might recommend?  And what do you embroider?

the best garage sale ever

My love of garage-saling (pronounced sailing and verb for going to garage sales) began early on in life, but things really kicked into gear when I was in college and home for the summer.  My dad would have Friday afternoons off and we would go check out the garage sales each week together.  In fact, one of the last things I did before I got married was going garage-saling with my dad and we found the queen size air mattress David and I offer to guests when they stay the night (although now they also have the option of a queen size bed as well).

Back in June, David and I decide to take advantage of a lazy Saturday morning to check out the garage sale scene in the area.  The day started off well, with a couple cheep books, an ice cream maker, and a lamp.  As it neared 1 pm, we decided to head home, but just then we saw a sign for a church garage sale.  Pardon my political and religious incorrectness here, but a church garage sale is like the mecca of garage sales.  Multiple people, lots of stuff, its a garuntee that you will find something.  This church sale was the best yet, because at 1 pm they start a $1 sale.  Not $1 per item, no its better than that, $1 for a bag and everything you can fit in the bag is included.  We probably brought home 10 items or more, but two I decided to apply at little of my hgtv inspiration to.

Item #1 – Bulletin Board: The change was pretty simple, paint the ‘frame’ white to make it match the new paint job of the office.

Item #2: Desktop Organizer:  I had litterally looked at a very similar desktop organizer earlier in the week from Target and it cost around $16.  When I saw this initially, I thought ugly color, kind of big, but then I thought what the heck it’s a dollor.  I began the update by putting a little paint on the inside to hide the ugly orange color.

The next step was to find some pretty fabric, cut it to shape, sew it together, and then glue the fabric to the organizer.

The final step was to place it on my desk and put it to good use.

Now I need to decide if I have enough fabric leftover to make a skirt or headband…

eating veggies is hard

wk 3 share: spinach, salad greens, eggplant, summer squash, lettuce, tomato, green beans, carrots, cucumber, basil, dill

So last week at this time, I was feeling pretty proud of David and I.  We ate an impressive amount veggies and found many tasty  ways of doing it.  I was all, this CSA thing is awesome and easy.  This week was slightly more challenging.  A lot of what we made we either didn’t like or I messed up the recipe.  So we ate part of each veggie, but ended up throwing out a lot of the leftovers.  This made me decide that I need to give a report on meals so that next year I know, which ones worked.

  • : Rosemary Chicken and Summer Squash
    veggies eaten: summer squash, salad greens
     report: too lemony for me, but it cooked up quick
  • Wednesday: Chicken Paillards with Green Bean Salad (Martha Stewart Magazine); Zucchini Bread (Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)
    veggies eaten: green beans, salad greens, zucchini 
    : I really liked the salad and it was easy to make, I thought she called for too much ham I would half it or maybe quarter the amount
  • Thursday: Hamburgers with Fennel Cole Slaw and French Fries
    veggies eaten: fennel, carrots 
    report: David did a great job with the hamburgers, but I didn’t like the coleslaw, part of it was that the fennel smelled like black licorice when I cut it, which bothered me, I also really wanted the coleslaw Andy made when we were in Wichita and this just didn’t cut it
  • Friday: Citrus and Beet Salad
    veggies eaten: beets
    report: we took this to a dinner and people seemed to like it, but David and I weren’t crazy about it.  I was really wanting a dish I vaguely remember that Mia made when she had a crafting party and this wasn’t nearly as good as that
  • Sunday: Kale, Sausage and Lentil Supper Skillet
    veggies eaten: kale 
    report: This dish has real potential.  I misread the directions and accidentally simmered w/lid off rather than on so the lentils were really crunchy, the flavor was good
  • Monday: Leftovers

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Bread from Magnolia’s Bakery Cookbook 

a productive weekend of crafting

I don’t know how it happens that I have all week off from teaching and I still don’t get anything done until the weekend.  Maybe it’s the break from reading or maybe its the energy from going on a bike ride Saturday morning or maybe it’s buying a second air conditioner.  Who can say?  All I know is that making progress on projects this weekend got me excited to get started on more new projects next week.  Here’s what I did:

1) I pulled out and re-stitched the quilt top. Now I need to cut out and sew the edgings and then figure out what to do with this quilt.  Ideas?

2) I made a headband. I saw the pattern at the beginning of the summer on pinterest (the pattern can be found here) and now that my hair is getting longer I thought having a few headbands might be a nice change of pace.  David tried to help me take a picture, but the camera ran out of batteries and then he got busy with his own project so I was left to my own devices with the big camera.

3) I updated the design of the blog (with David’s help).  Hopefully no picture is necessary for this one because you are looking at it.

4) I’m making a pie for my advisee who is here for summer camp and helped David carry our media unit up to the fourth floor (using the elevator of course).

5) I finally finished knitting a baby sweater for a friend who is due I think sometime this summer, but I’m not totally sure when.  They just haven’t had the baby yet.

This is the Jasper Cardigan from Kristen Rengren’s book Vintage Baby Knits.  I’ve been working on it since at least May.  It was a fun knit and helped keep me focused during the faculty meetings at the end of school.  I actually finished the knitting back in June, but didn’t have time to block it until a week ago.  The best part about this sweater is that I found the buttons for 20 cents at a hardware store today while I meandered around waiting on David.