Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter Weather Afghan

I had been working on this project slowly for over the last year.  It really shouldn't have taken that long.  I had deemed this afghan my "meanwhile" project.  If I needed something easy and portable I would bring along this because it is only garter stitch and is basically a no-brainer.  But in the end it turned out quite lovely, and warm, and squishy, and big enough to hide out in.

Winter Weather Afghan


Size 11 knitting needles straight
Size K crochet hook
approximately 8-10 skeins each of worsted weight solid and worsted weight variegated yarn

Garter Stitch Panels-

make 3

Using size 11 needles and holding two strands, one of the gray and one of the variegated, cast on 36 stitches. Knit every row until you have 300 rows or 150 ridges. Bind off.

Crochet Panels-

make 2

Using a size K crochet hook and just 1 strand of the gray yarn, chain 19 
R1. DC in 4th chain from hook. DC in next 7 chains, ch 3, skip next chain and DC in next 8 chains, ch 3, turn.
R2. (Ch 3 counts as 1st DC), DC in next 4 stitches, ch 3, sc in ch 3 space, ch 3, sk 3 DC, DC in next 5 DC, ch 3, turn.
R3. (Ch 3 counts as 1st DC), DC in next 2 DC, ch 3, sc in next ch 3 space, ch 3, sc in second chain 3 space, ch 3, skip next 3 DC, DC in last 3 Dc, ch 3, turn.
R4. (Ch 3 counts as 1st DC), DC in next 2 DC and 2 more DC in 1st chain 3 space, ch 3, sc in 2nd chain 3 space, ch 3, 2 DC in 3rd chain 3 space, DC in next 3 DC, ch 3, turn.
R5. (Ch 3 counts as 1st DC), DC in next 4 DC, 3DC in 1st chain 3 space, ch 3, 3 DC in next chain 3 space, DC in next 5 DC, ch3, turn.
Repeat rows 2-5 19 more times for a total of 20 snowflake patterns. Fasten off.
Sew the panels together using a whipstitch in this order: Garter stitch panel, snowflake panel, garter stitch panel, snowflake panel, and ending with garter stitch panel.

Crochet Edging

Using size L crochet hook and one strand of gray yarn join with a slip stitch to any corner, ch 4, sc in same corner, ch 4, sc, in to knit panel working evenly around and placing sc about an inch apart (on the sides, skip 3 ridges and work sc into valleys of garter stitch, and on the tops, skip every 3 stitches.) Continue to corner , sc in corner, ch 4, and sc again in same space. Continue all the way around and join with slip stitch to first stitch.
R2: Slip stitch into corner space. Chain 4 and sc in same space, * sc into next space, ch 3, 3 DC into same space * repeat** to the corner , sc in ch 4 corner space, ch 4, sc in same space, and then repeat** again across the row. Then join with slip stitch to first stitch and fasten off.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Four Layer Strawberry Lemonade Cake and Summer Birthday

    A few days ago my little girl hit double digits.  The big Ten.  We had a  small party to celebrate with.   I planned the activities but Allison wanted to bake the cake.  Fine, one thing less for me to do, right? The child made two batches of cake mix.  One lemon flavored and one strawberry flavored in 8" cake pans.  Four layers!!  I was pretty doubtful and, unfortunately,  not very encouraging because I have never even attempted such a feat.  Allison baked the cakes entirely herself and frosted them with neon pink icing  and topped it with hot pink candles and stuck it in the fridge overnight with the candles all ready.
   We played musical chairs.  There were eggs tossed... and then there were eggs cracked over heads.  Trust me when I say that eggs cracked on your head smarts a bit.  The kids bobbed for apples to cool off.

    For the big finale, we had a whipped cream war.  Everyone got their own can!

     Now, after the candles were blown out and the Happy Birthday song was sung, it came time to eat Allison's strawberry lemonade masterpiece. I was amazed. The cake was so delicious and so beautiful.    Why did I ever expect anything else from  my own  ten year old masterpiece?  Why did I ever doubt?   The wonderful way a child grows up must be one of the biggest miracles on earth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Hundred Onions

  It is just about time for my winter vacation from the yard to come to an end, and gladly so.  Every fall I often look forward to the break from mowing and weeding and watering.  Every spring I am glad for the rest that I had and am ready to work again.
  It is still a pretty cool March with just a few bright days here in Charlotte.  It is not time to plant tomatoes or summer squash, but maybe onions.   I have several raised beds and have planted a set of red onions and a set of white onions.  One hundred onions.  Farmer's Almanac says it is safe to plant them about four weeks before the last frost, as long as the temperature does not fall below 20 degrees.  Make sure not to plant them very deep at all, just half way up the bulb.

   I also took one of my boxes and went ahead and planted all my greens (seeds).  The little ones helped me plant red and white swiss chard, radishes, beets, and two kinds of spinach.  There is nothing to see yet but good old black compost.

  Oh, and my peach tree is blooming.  I bought it at the Tractor Supply Store last spring for $14. It makes a pretty tree even without fruit.  I know we will not have peaches this year, but it doesn't hurt to hope.  Anyway, isn't that what spring is all about.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yarn Fever

  Oh yeah, I've got yarn fever pretty bad. I go through spells where all I think about is fabric, and then in a couple of months I'm ready to finish an ongoing cross stitch project, or for a few months I only want to research new recipes. Well, I always want new recipes!
   It's actually been several years since I wanted yarn. My mother taught me to crochet when I was still a kid, but I didn't really start enjoying needlework until college, where there were some other girls in my dorm with the same hobby. Pretty soon after I discovered quilting just seemed so much faster and more beautiful, so I've kinda mostly stuck with that .
  The Christmas Eve my husband proposed to me, I gave him a crocheted afghan. That blanket is still my go to blanket because it is the warmest, coziest, heaviest blanket we have. It has really held up these past 16 years. Made with love <3.
  There is just something about yarn. Usually I decide I want some yarn. I drive to the yarn store dreaming of intricate and beautiful projects I can make. Then I see the yarn. Standing in the middle of the aisle, surrounded by shelves of yarn, I realize I didn't make a plan and don't know what I need, and am not even sure what I want. I pick out one skein of yarn that I like, because I can't go home empty handed, and always wind up making a scarf.
  This is a picture of two of my kiddos. They both got a camoflage scarf from yours truly. Chaddie's is just knitted with the knit stitch and has black fringe. Ashley's is made up of crocheted granny squares with a pink edging and crocheted together. I did a special curly cue fringe on hers that is just 25 chains and then three single crochets in each chain. Easy peasy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cream Cheese Danish Cake

   Work, bunny rabbit, cake, sunshine... in this order.  These are the things that are taking a lot of time this week.  First, my agency has bumped my hours up to 40 hours a week.  I know this is normal for most of you and you do not feel sorry for me, but seriously, this is cutting into my sitting on the couch time.
   Secondly, we have a new little pet in our family.  It is a baby bunny we call Lucy.  She is cute, curious, and so far, a friendly little soul.  But I never imagined one small rabbit could be so messy.  I am on constant clean up patrol with her.
   Thirdly, there is this cake.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, originally from this blog.  The cake is very tasty, buttery and thin, but the topping is wonderful.  It tastes like the cream cheese filling of a danish, hence the title of this post.  The whole thing is baked in a springform pan, sot there is little to clean up.  Cream Cheese Danish Cake is perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or anytime!


2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange and one lemon

8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
3 TBS melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon/ orange
1 cup confectioner's sugar

  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.  To make the cake,  whisk together eggs, butter, lemon and orange juices, extract, and zests in your mixer.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Place cake batter in springform pan, spreading it carefully to cover the bottom of the pan.
   Now, to make the filling, beat the cream cheese for several minutes in your mixer, until very smooth and creamy.  Add in confectioner's sugar and mix for another minute.  Add egg and mix until all is combined.  Add butter, extracts and zest, mix well.   Pour the filling over the cake batter in the pan, spreading it all the way up to 1/2 inch from edge, so that there is some cake showing.

   Bake for 40 minutes.  The cake will puff up some.  Remove springform sides.  Eat warm, or chill in the refrigerator for later.

  And fourthly, the weather has been great, warm and sunny, for early December.  And today... this day I didn't have to work, so why not sit out on the porch in the sun with Lucy nearby.  I can have my cake, and eat it, too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

   It's that easy.  The name says it all.   Use up some of those candy canes the kids get from sitting in Santa's lap, which mine just happened to do yesterday.  Bass Pro Shops had free pictures with Santa, free arcade shooting range, nerf archery games, remote controlled cars and crafts.  It was crowded, but it wouldn't be the mall in December otherwise.  The store is celebrating every weekend until Christmas.  If you have a Bass Pro Shop nearby, I recommend going.
   This recipe makes enough for our family for a couple of days.  Double the recipe if you are making for friends to share.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, if you didn't like the stress of the crowds at the mall, crushing the candy canes in a bag with a hammer can relieve some frustration ;) !


1 12oz bag white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 candy canes crushed and divided in half

   Cover a baking sheet with a large piece of foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Melt the chocolate chips in a medium bowl in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds.  Add in the extract and half the crushed candy canes.  Mix well.
   Pour this melted mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it very thin.  Sprinkle the top with the other half of the candy canes.  Let cool completely, peel away from foil, then break up into pieces.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rice and Chili Bowl

   Is it a chilly day where you are?  It is almost December, so I guess it is past time to pack away my wishes of tank tops and sunshine.  It  is time to flip up my hoodie, pull my thick socks up and turn the portable heater on.
   Now that I am warm on the outside, let's put something warm inside.  Homemade chili is very simple to make and so ingredient flexible.  This recipe is really the bare and mild minimum, so feel free to add your favorite chili ingredients or give it a little extra spice if you are feeling especially chilly.  Did I say chilly/ chili enough?

1 chopped onion
1 TBS olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15oz can of black beans
2 tsp cumin
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp each salt and pepper (optional)

prepared rice
shredded cheese (jack or cheddar)
chopped green onions

   In a deep pan, on med high heat,  sauté onion in olive oil until translucent and tender.  Add minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.

   Pour in the cans of tomatoes and beans undrained.

   Add all the spices and hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir the chili until all ingredients are incorporated. Turn the heat to medium and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced somewhat.  Make sure to stir every so often to prevent beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  Meanwhile, prepare the rice. To serve, fill half a bowl with rice and the other half with warm chili.  Generously sprinkle shredded cheese over the top.  This might serve 4 people, unless they are starving, and ward off the shivers for one evening anyway.