Friday, October 28, 2011

Chevron Stripe Scarf for Japan

Apparently I wanted to crochet a scarf for Japan instead of knit it. 

I usually knit and crochet in very small gauges, but this time I chose a bulky yarn and I'm thrilled at how quickly the scarf was to crochet! An easy, fast, and thoroughly satisfying project.

Chevron stripes seem to be all the rage right now. Remember the Missoni for Target frenzy?!

This chevron stripe scarf is a free pattern from Lion Brand yarn. I've used Lion Brand Alpine Wool, which is 100% wool, for the light blue, and a vintage (like, really vintage) wool-blend yarn that was in my mother's stash for the cream.

We'll send them off when {G} is done with hers.

With the weather turning cold here, I'm thinking about scarves for myself. Here are a couple patterns that I think are really, really lovely...

 Knit by Dawn Sparks. This is her Etsy shop. Apparently the pattern is in 101 Designer One Skein Wonders.

Crocheted by Coco Rose.

Mr. O'Leary's Scarf. Free Pattern from Lion Brand Yarn.

If you're interested in sending a scarf to Japan, please go here for more information, or click the link below or on my side bar.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

S'mores Cookies

Martha Stewart S'mores Cookies

I made these yesterday and they are so unbelievably addictive that I'm struggling with getting any sort of healthy nutrition from anything else. The cookie is dense, but crumbly too, with a hint of cinnamon. And the chocolate and broiled marshmallow really do conjure up the taste of campfire s'mores.

Um, I made a double batch. I think I'm in trouble!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fru Dahle - Toy Tuesday

Look who came to play today! Fru Dahle from Norway has come to play with my fairy family for spooky All Hallows' Eve. Made by Emily of Ravenhill (who sadly is no longer blogging or selling her super cute matroyshka dolls. Boo hoo hoo!).

When Emily closed her shop in January of this year, I promptly ordered Fru Dahle (1) because she's amazingly cute, (2) because I had wanted one of Emily's matroyshka dolls for quite some time and I shuddered to think that I wouldn't be able to order a doll if I didn't act very fast, and (3) Dahle is the Norwegian family name of my maternal great-grandmother!! It is also {K}'s middle name! So it seemed like fate that Fru Dahle should come to live with our family.

But, alas! Even though Emily sent her to us in January, Fru Dahle decided to gallivant across the globe, visiting all the places that I'm sure I'd wish to go, and making me cry a very sad Boo Hoo, because not only had Emily closed her shop and wasn't making any more deliciously darling matroyshka dolls anymore, but I thought that Fru Dahle didn't want to come live with us!

But, Fru Dahle DID want to live with us and she arrived safe and sound and she is now comfortably housed with the Fairy Family and they are planning what costumes to wear for Halloween.

For other darling matroyshka dolls, visit here, here, or here. Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pixie Cable Hat and Booties

Introducing my 

Pixie Cable Hat


Cable Mary Janes!

I've been working on the pattern all spring and summer and I'm making the final revisions right now. Look for the knitting pattern and custom knits for infants available in my shop soon!

Pictures by Carissa Rasmussen for alipyper.
Thank you Carissa!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Uncle Winn's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my fondest memories growing up was the freedom my Mom allowed in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Baking cookies, muffins, caramel popcorn and simple candies with whatever was in the pantry became a weekly ritual.

But my mother's kitchen was a kitchen dedicated to utility and quantity - there were eight kids to feed! All our meals, including desserts and snacks, were about how far you could stretch the ingredients and how quickly you could get the food to the table.

I distinctly remember the first time I saw my Uncle Winn scoop out and bake cookies. Not only were his cookies super large, perfectly round and laden with chocolate chips, but he was using an ice cream scoop to put the dough on parchment paper lined baking sheets! What was that?!

This was WAY before Martha Stewart popularized the techniques and tools from a gourmet restaurant and showed us how to incorporate them into our home kitchens. I had never seen anyone use a scoop for cookie dough! Nor had I ever heard of parchment paper. These cookies were nothing like the misshapen and hodge-podge cookies we were turning out in our kitchen!

For more than twenty years, my Uncle Winn's cookies have been one of the most anticipated treats at family gatherings. Recently, he shared his recipe in a family cookbook and he's generously allowed me to share it with you!

Uncle Winn's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 lids of vanilla (about 2 tsp)
3 cups Quaker Normal Oats (quick oats, NOT old fashioned)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 pkg of milk chocolate chips or raisins

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add quick oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well. Mix in chocolate chips. Using a large scoop, scoop out cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until edges are golden. Don't over bake!

Transfer to cooling racks and enjoy!

Isn't this afghan amazing? My Grandmother Mangum crocheted it in the 70's and I'm BLOWN AWAY at the warm memories this blanket evoke in me and now as an adult, how brilliant her color combinations are! That super crazy brilliant pop of neon coral/peach against the dark green and olive green. LOVE that this afghan is crocheted in a wool blend and that it has retained it's shape and texture. LOVE IT!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scarves 4 Japan

{G} and I are each going to knit an adult scarf to send to Japan. {G} has already started hers...2 x 2 rib that she figured out how to do on her own! Isn't she so smart?!

I haven't decided how I'll knit mine. Nothing super complicated - that's not the point.

If you're interested in knitting a simple scarf yourself, here is the link with more information, or click the link below or on my sidebar. This is a great project to do with your kids or youth group and it would be a nice way to give back during the upcoming Holiday season!

Pumpkin Carvin' Time!

My little sister Sarah came over with her kids and we carved pumpkins out in the autumn sunshine. Luckily, she was willing to help the kids clean out the pumpkins while I provided logistical, photographic,and design support. Sorry, but cleaning pumpkin guts makes me gag.

I think all the kids did a bang up job!

 {G} is definitely into simple, statement pumpkins...last year she carved a mustache.This year? Cat eyes.

{I}'s pumpkin says, "The soda tastes good." Apparently this is an inside joke with his cousin?

And {K} left some guts hanging inside for the extra gross factor.

We're ready for the spookiness to begin!

Easiest Cookies EVER

Want to know what to do with leftover frosting from your cake or cupcakes? Or if you're in the mood for cookies but you don't want to bake?

Slather homemade frosting in between two graham crackers, et voila! Instant sandwich cookie!

Best after chilling in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Simple Frosting
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar (about 2 cups)

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add milk and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until you get a thick icing consistency. Add milk if the frosting is too thick, add powdered sugar if it's too thin.

Variations on a theme:
Substitute 2 Tbsp coconut milk and 1/2 tsp coconut extract for the milk and vanilla. OR, substitute 1/2 tsp. almond extract for the vanilla. OR, substitute 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice for the milk and vanilla for a tart lemon frosting. OR, substitute 1/4 cup peanut butter for the butter. OR, substitute 1/3 cup cocoa powder for some of the powdered sugar.

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER use 1000 year shelf life, nasty tasting, store bought frosting (yes, I'm shouting). Yuck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AH.MAY.ZING Dollhouses - Toy Tuesday

You MUST read about how Megan created this dollhouse. Truly inspiring!
I LOVE dollhouses. A big wooden diorama to create story after story with. Allowing a child to manage and organize chaos on a miniature scale.

Poppenvilla Dollhouse by Liliane via Handmade Charlotte

Infinitely changeable.

Sarah Jane Dollhouse

Dollhouses can be tricky. They are often a huge investment of space in a child's room or playroom. You also have to consider how to store the dollhouse furniture, accessories and dolls. But, in terms of play payoff, I think they are definitely worth it.

Make your own Cardboard Dollhouse!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Knit Love

The dear procreating friends that I mentioned before sent/alerted me of pictures taken of their new little ones in the vest and booties I knit for them. I can't tell you how lovely it is to see these sweet little babies in handmade goodness!

Thank you, thank you for the pictures!!

Gingersnaps - National Cookie Month

So, despite having every intention of making cookies everyday - what better excuse than a national month-long cookie holiday?! - I've made what appears to be EVERYTHING but cookies so far this month. Two huge apple pies for a family Sunday dinner, four loaves of whole wheat bread, two pumpkin pies (because it's autumn and I had a massive craving), TWO coconut cakes and a repeat on the Surprise Cookies. Oh, I guess I did make cookies!

We've had GORGEOUS autumn weather the last week and the trees on the mountains are turning brilliant fall colors. It's making me think of the coming Holiday Season (hence the pumpkin pie this week) and all the yummy baking that I love to do. Nothing smells to me like autumn and early winter like the smell of gingersnap cookies!

The flavors of fall, wrapped in a sugar coating? Delicious!

Gingersnaps (adapted from my mother, Kaye Wallace's recipe)
Makes about 25 cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup dark molasses
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

 Preheat oven to 350º F.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and molasses. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Scoop out small balls and roll in hands, then roll in sugar. Bake on a parchement lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden and the tops of the cookies have cracked. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, and quadrupled. Believe me - a quadruple batch is in your future! Great the same day you cook them, they are UNBELIEVABLE the next day after the flavors have blended. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and every morsel a reminder of the lovely Holiday season to come!

Kaye Wallace's Gingersnap Recipe

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kapla Building Planks - Toy Tuesday

Kapla 280 pc Set
 Have you seen these building planks?
Box of all available colors

Deceptively simple, these proportionate, natural, wooden rectangle planks can be combined in endless ways to create gravity defying structures.


Designed by a man who experimented with small planks to help him visualize his own building project, they are used in the French educational system to help children learn proportion, balance, patience, focus, geometry, physics, and art.
Yellow/Green Planks
I am so excited about the play possibilities of these planks! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Casting {On}

I've been doing a lot of casting {on}.
 Just like the Mr. and the children.
It was cold at the lake on Saturday, but the cool, crisp autumn air was beautiful.
The fish were NOT biting. But everybody got lots of casting practice.
Me too. I've been working out some knitting patterns, so I've been doing A LOT of casting {on}. I'm so close to finishing up the pattens and getting them into my shop! Stay tuned...
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