Sunday, January 20, 2019

Episode 08 - Getting back into the swing of things

Welcome back! Thanks for visiting and letting me chat at you today. Grab your favorite drink, and come sit a spell. I have a lot of crafty things to chat about. 

Works In Progress
Vanilla socks on 9-inch needle
Needles: U.S. 1 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: "Eclipse"

Finished Objects

Crochet blanket
Started: Oct. 25, 2018
Finished: Dec. 2018
Hook size: 9 m.m.
Yarn: Red Heart
Colorway: Black and the "Favorite Stripes" colorway.
Crocheting two strands together. 

Vanilla Socks
Started: Around Oct. 22, 2018
Finished: End of Dec. 2018.
Needle: US 1, 2.5 mm 
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Lost Lakes

Ashville hat (ravelry link)
Started: Early December 2018
Finished: End of December 2018.
Needle: US 9 needles 
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava bulky
Colorway: Solstice Heather

This was a test knit for my friend.  Proceeds from hat sales will go towards buying items for her angel bags, which go with the hats. Many thanks to my friend who sent me bulky yarn. 

Cabled Tassel Hat (link to Lionbrand)
Started: Early December 2018
Finished: End of December 2018.
Needle: US 13 needles 
Yarn: Lionbrand Hometown USA
Colorway: Azalea colorway

Still trying to decide if I should put a pom pom on.  Is one better than the other? 

Forbidden Fiber Co Mystery Advent KAL
Started: Dec. 2, 2018
Finished: Dec. 31, 2018.
Needle: US 7 needles 
Yarn: Forbidden Fiber Co DK weight yarn
Colorway: variety of colorways

I've spent entire days with this lovely draped around my neck. 

Yarn Talk
I got new ChiaoGoo 
shorties. There was a learning process for me. 

I also signed up for a year of BluPrint (Formerly Craftsy)

I got a weaving loom for Christmas.  It's a 32-inch Kromski Forte Harp. Thanks to my friend who sent me a warping peg. Major thanks to my husband for finding the deal of the year. 

My first project ended up being a table runner. I used Red Heart acrylics. 

My second project was a set of tea towels. Yarn used was Peaches and Cream dishcloth cotton. I don't know the name of the colorways. 

In Stitches

I got the itch to quilt. Two summers ago I started a quilt for my son. I completed it Jan. 12, 2019. Hooray!  My son is thrilled to bits with it and has slept with it every night. 

Here's the diagram my son made, to show where he wanted the different squares. 

Book Chat
I did finished listening to "The Rosie Project." Such a fun book!  

I'm almost done listening to "A Corner of White." This is my second time listening to the story. 

Coop News
Nothing too exciting going on with the girls.  They aren't too happy with the cold weather.

From the Hutch
News about Shadow. She's no longer itty bitty and sweet.  She's large and in charge!

Barefoot in the Kitchen

Not much has been going on in the kitchen. The busyness of the holidays has thrown me off kilter, a bit.  I'm slowly getting back into routine. 

I did make a banana cake recently.  Very good!  I got the recipe from Sugar Spun Run. 

I did make one modification to the cake recipe, and one to the frosting recipe.  I reduced the sugar by one-quarter cup. I do recommend using the tin foil, to prevent browning and drying out. 

This is the recipe, with my modifications. Follow the link above, to see the original recipe.

The Best Banana Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil 
1 cup light or dark brown sugar 
1/4 cup sugar
4 ripe bananas, peeled and well-mashed (this is about 2 cups mashed)
2 large eggs lightly beaten room temperature
¼ cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray or lightly grease and flour.  Set aside.
Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and use an electric mixer). Beat until well-combined and light and fluffy.
Add oil and beat to combine.  
Stir in mashed bananas.
Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add to wet ingredients until completely combined.  
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake on 350F (175C) for 45-55 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with few moist crumbs.  Allow to cool completely before covering with frosting.

Silky Cream Cheese Frosting
Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
With mixer on low-speed, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
Add heavy cream and gradually increase speed to high.  Beat on high for 30 seconds.  
Spread over completely cooled banana cake.  Top with chopped walnuts (if using).  Slice and serve!

*Important -- keep an eye on your banana cake as it bakes.  30 minutes in, check your cake to see if it's becoming too brown on top (pay attention to the edges, if they're getting darker in color and pulling away from the edges), if so you may lightly tent with foil before baking the remaining 15 minutes.  I had this issue when baking in a glass dish but not in a metal one (which was opposite of what I expected).  

Nature Notes

It got cold out.

My Happiness This Week

Or, after almost two years, I finally completed the quilt I promised my son.  He's thrilled to bits with it. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

I lived in a snow globe

Around New Year's Eve/New Year's Day my neck of the woods had some odd January weather.  Temps rose high enough that we had some rain.  Then the temps dropped and the rain started freezing and gradually turned to snow.

I woke up to a winter wonderland.  Too bad hubby and I had to move all that blasted snow.  He did an awesome job clearing it away and making paths to all the necessary places.

It was something to go to bed with no snow on the ground, and to wake up in a winter wonderland. 

When I took a drive I randomly stopped and took some photos.

The weather is forecasted for another round of this rain/sleet-turn-to-snow weather again, starting tonite.

In other news, back to work went all right.  My first day back was a work-at-home day. That helped ease the transition back to work after more than a glorious week of vacation. 

I've been puttering around with my knitting, weaving (squee!) and quilting.  I thought I was done with all my quilting squares.  Turns out I need to make four more. I've trimmed all the squares done and sewed together all the pieces and rows that I can.  My hope is that I will get those last four squares done this week, and the entire top sewn together. Then I'd like to have it completely done by the end of the month.  Crud, I just gave myself a deadline. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sorry for being MIA

I'm sorry for being MIA and not saying a peep about it. Once Thanksgiving happened, life went crazy.  As it tends to do this time of year.

I know I'm not the only one who has life and routine go totally off the rail at the start of the holiday season.

And the time went so swiftly! It is sort of hard to believe it's the new year and 2019.

Wow.  It's 2019. *sigh*

This last week I've been on vacation with family and we've been running here and there, trying to take advantage of the nice December weather.

My boys have discovered ice fishing. I sit in the truck and knit and watch videos on my phone.  Until the weather got *really* cold.  Then I stayed home.

What to say ... so  many things going on.

We had a lovely Christmas with family on the Sunday before Christmas.  Christmas Day we had a meal at home, with just the three of us. My main Christmas gift was a Kromski-32 inch rigid heddle loom.  Can you believe it?  Never in my dreams did I think I'd ever want to weave.  Something clicked in November and I decided I wanted to do this thing. 

My husband found the loom for me on Ebay, for a really great price.  Felt like it took forever to finally arrive.  I've already made one project on it and I have a second project on it.

Here's Shadow, helping show off my first project. I'm amazed at how quick it goes. Naturally I did something wrong, and warped it backwards. ... Among other things.  But I took some time and fixed it.  It could be a small scarf, but I'm using it as a table runner.


Here's the warp of the next project.  I'm trying to take my time and do a good job.  I'm learning a whole new skill set, and a whole new vocabulary. 

My husband's main gift was an ice house for fishing, along with all the new toys, tools he needs to ice fish.  My husband and son have been spending a lot of time out on the lakes and they've pulled in some really big fish.  I don't have any pics on my phone, otherwise I'd share.

Oh, wait.  I do have one. ...

Anywho, tomorrow it is back to the grind.  I feel ready, so I know I've had a long enough break. You know how it is. I don't take enough time off and I get into burnout mode. Thankfully this year's Christmas break was a bit on the long side, so it was good. 

You'll have to excuse me, I'm writing a bit stream of conscious right now.  Knitting has been happening.  I did complete a few projects.  But I'm going to save that stuff for a different day/post.  I'm hoping to record another video within the next week, or so.  It's been well over a month and I think I could fore more than an hour easily with just the crafting stuff. 

I noticed today on Facebook that a lot of people were sharing their goals and resolutions for the next year.  I haven't done any of that stuff.  Mostly I'm just looking to get back into some sort of routine. I've realized that I'm a creature of habit and routine.  Anything that knocks my routine off kilter, and the whole ship goes down. 

Quilting!  I've been cranking along on some quilt squares for a quilt I promised to make my son ... two summers ago. I've got four squares left. I want to get that all together before it's time to start hatching out chicks. I'm not sure if I want to tie the quilt, hand quilt it, or try my hand at some sort of machine quilting.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Episode 07 - The one with no intro

Welcome back! This week something wonky was going on with the software I use for putting the intro and outro on my videos.  I decided it was best to simply load the video. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for visiting with me today!

Crochet blanket
Started: Oct. 25, 2018
Hook size: 9 m.m.
Yarn: Red Heart
Colorway: Black and the "Favorite Stripes" colorway.

Crocheting two strands together. 


Vanilla Socks
Started: Around Oct. 22, 2018
Needle: US 1, 2.5 mm
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Lost Lakes


Yarn chat
I'm watching two new-to-me YouTube channels. They are Jayda InStitches and The Crochet Crowd

Nature notes
Deer hunting update - My son filled his deer tags!  
Snow finally happened.

Harvesting trees project.  

I gave up on "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." It's just not the season for that heavy tome.  

I'm waiting for "Ender in Exile" to be come available again. The library audiobook expired when it was getting *really* interesting.

Currently listening to "The Rosie Project."  If you like screwball comedies and romance, go get this book!  The voice actor is Aussie, and he does a wonderful job. It's been a while since I laughed so much listening to a book.

Coop news
I found a second secret nest, and the babies have moved themselves into the big coop.

Barefoot in the kitchen
Making venison summer sausage and venison jerky. We had to buy a second smoker. 


Coffee talk
Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
Christmas is happening too soon in the stores. I'm not the only one tired of this.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Episode 06 - The last hurrah

Welcome back!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for visiting with me today!

A modified umbilical cord hat
Needles: U.S. 2
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: "Teaparty" maybe?
Started: October 17, 2018
Finished: October 19, 2018


Finished objects
Pumpking dishcloth pattern
Needles: U.S. 5 - 3.75 mm

Book chat
Have not touched "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," by Betty Smith.
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card has not been listened to.

From the coop
I found a secret nest!

From the hutch
Getting the bunnies all set up for winter.

In the kitchen
Carmel apples
Lamb roast in the Instant Pot
Banana bread

Banana bread recipe
1 - 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup stick margerine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 - 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 - 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottoms only of 2 regular loaf pans.

2. Mix sugar and margarine (or butter) in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stire in the nuts. Pour batter into pans.

3. Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1/14 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans on wire rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Nature notes
The last of the nice weather.

From the homestead
Outdoor clean up has started

Coffee talk
No episode next week.
Faster internet
More about the weather

My happiness this week
Music - Music is an important part of my life.

Songs I mentioned:

The song that I couldn't remember the singer

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Episode 05 - Frozen

Welcome back!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for visiting with me today!

Finished objects
Vanilla socks on two circs
Needles: U.S. 1 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: The Countess
Started: To be filled in
Finished: To be filled in


Baby Surprise Jacket
Needles: U.S. 5 (3.75 mm)
Yarn: Lion Brand Mandala
Colorway:  Gnome
Started Sept. 21, 2018
Finished Oct. 6, 2018



Baby hat - A modified umbilical cord hat
Needles: U.S. 2
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: The Countess
Started Oct. 7, 2018
Finished Oct. 11, 2018


Book chat
I am *DONE* Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. 

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," by Betty Smith has been started.  

From the Coop
Mama and babies update.
Update on the main flock.

From the Hutch
Hoss, why you pout so much?

Nature notes
Gales of November have arrived early.
Frost last night.

In the Kitchen
It's soup for all the lunches time!

Made my first quiche in ages. 

Coffee talk
Travel for work
Hunting update

My happiness this week
Nature - more specifically: Lake Superior.  I put a couple vids up at the end of the video. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Episode 04 - Fall is here

Welcome back! Thanks for visiting and letting me chat at you today. Grab your favorite drink, and come sit a spell.

Works In Progress
Vanilla socks on two circs
Needles: U.S. 1 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: The Countess


Needles: U.S. 5 (3.75 mm)
Yarn: Lion Brand Mandala
Colorway:  Gnome
Started Sept. 21, 2018


Finished Object
I have an FO!

Lake shore scarf by Mara Jessup. Pattern available on the Knit Picks website.
Needles U.S. 3 (3.25 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll fingering weight hand painted.
Colorway: Great Lakes
Started: Aug. 25, 2018
Completed: Sept. 30, 2018


I placed an order to Knit Picks and chat about the purchases and the patterns I've got picked out for them.  Next on the to do list includes the Lia pullover pattern, and the Mosey legwarmers pattern.

No spinning this week. 

From the coop
I give an update on Mama Brahma and the babies. I think Mama is ready to call it quits on motherhood.

I chat a little bit about the roosters and *finally* share the size difference in the eggs from the older girls and the ones who are just starting to lay.

From the hutch 
I introduce this sweet little girl.  My son is fairly confident she's a girl.  Say hello to Shadow.

Barefoot in the kitchen
I tried two new recipes this week.  One was a bit of a zonker. The other was a winner!

Creamy chicken soup. I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  We also added a cream of mushroom or cream of chicken to the soup and it added that little extra something.  No flour since we try to keep carbs to a minimum.  You could use a little bit of guar gum for thickening. The soup smelled divine as it was cooking. 

The zonker was the recipe for roasted Brussel spouts.  This was also my first time cooking Brussel sprouts. I didn't roast with the Parmesan, but added it after the fact.  I don't think anyone was keen on Parmesan on the sprouts. 

The tried and true recipe for chili is at the Top Secret Recipes website. 

Book chat
Book - I'm still plugging away with Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  I'm on page 280-something of 341.

Audiobook -  Ender in Exile became available from the library. I am on part six of 12.

Kindle book - Cat Trick (A Magical Cats Mystery, book 4).  I haven't touched it yet.

Next on the list is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. 

Nature notes
I chat about the fall colors, the desire to start fall clean up but it's raining, and the photos I took this week.
From the homestead
Carrots still need to be pulled out of the garden. 
Gardening plans for 2019
Hunting update

Coffee talk
I chat about the Oulu Corn Maze.

My happiness this week
Soup. It's so comforting during the cooler days. There are endless varieties of soup and many ways to make it.