Friday, January 25, 2013

oversized chocolate-dipped cookies


Trent and I made these cookies today. We used this recipe for the cookies, but we used a large scooper and baked them for about 15 minutes.  When they cooled, we dipped the cookies in melted chocolated and sprinkled them with crushed oreos, chopped reeses pieces, and red jimmies.  A super fun alternative to the traditional birthday cake.

I usually don't post about food, but today is an exceptional day.  Today is the hub's 36th birthday.  This is his first birthday celebration since we lost Timmy.  I went through my first last November.  Leading up to my birthday, I felt like my brain was at odds with my heart.  My heart didn't want to feel happy . . . happiness just didn't seem right.  But my brain told me not to be the martyr.  Outwardly, I accepted birthday wishes from my family, but inwardly, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed where I could dream about us all being together.

I didn't tell anyone that it was my birthday.  I had moved to a new department at work several months prior and no one would have known.  I had a support group meeting that evening and I chose not to share my secret there either.  So my birthday came and went with a comfortably quiet celebration with my husband and kids.

I have noticed subtle changes in myself over the last few months.  I now understand the true meaning of a birthday.  To celebrate a birthday is to be thankful for the chance at life.  I am thankful that my husband got the chance at life.  He is strong and supportive with a helpful heart.  He is an awesome father.  We share a love of movies, baseball, and long walks.  Today I celebrate his presence in my life and in this world.  Happy birthday, Tim.

Celebrate life with your loved ones and be sure they understand just how thankful you are to have them here with you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a{nother} new hobby

As if I need another one . . .

I wanted to try to my hand at spinning yarn, so my mother-in-law gave me a drop spindle and spinning supplies for Christmas.  So in my spare time, I've been working on creating my own yarn.  I spun two singles out of two 1/4 ounce Corridale rovings: toffee and chestnut.  Then I plied them together to even them out a little and see what would happen.  I ended up with a fall-ish thick and thin that was more fun to make than I expected.

I'm not sure what I will do with this one since I only have maybe 5 yards, but I am interested to see how it knits up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

my own capelet design

I knitted this capelet for my sister, Amanda, for Christmas.  She didn't request anything handmade from me (in fact, she may not even like handmade things) but I had this idea and I wanted to go for it.  She lives in Arizona where it's above 50 in the middle of winter, so I wanted to make her something light that she could wear around without making her sweat.  This little capelet was my answer.

I used bulky weight yarn and size 10 needles so I could complete the project in the week that I had left before Christmas.  I knew that I wanted a capelet knit in the round without any type of closure, simply slipped over the head to rest on the top of the shoulders. 

Since the top half would be so plain, I wanted to use something more substantial for the bottom half.  I thought about using a lace pattern but with the alpaca yarn, I knew the lace would blend too much.  And then I found the saxon braid.  This intricate cable certainly holds its own and becomes the focus of any project. 

And believe it or not, it's a pretty simple design to follow.  This was my first experience reading a chart and although I messed up a couple of times, I don't think that anyone unfamiliar with knitting cables would be able to tell.

I think it's a perfect length for a capelet and I hope it serves her well in the warm climate of Az.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

knitting a blanket for christmas {that's crazy}

My lovely sister, Laura, who has always supported by love of fiber and diy crafting requested a knitted blanket as my Christmas present to her.  This was back in November.  I informed her that there was no way that I would be able to finish the blanket before Christmas, not only because it would take to knit a blanket but also because I had so many other projects on my Christmas list.  She graciously offered to wait longer as long as I agreed to knit one for her.

My sister currently lives and works in Mexico.  While she is gaining valuable business and life experience abroad, I know she misses us loved ones here in the States.  So I decided to give the blanket an admirable effort to be finished by Christmas.  And with the help of super bulky yarn and size 15 needles, I came through with time to spare.

Laura's only specification was that the blanket be gray or navy.  These are her signature colors.  And other than that, I had free creative reign.  So, naturally, I chose a gold color.  See, I don't take orders very well.  I need complete creative reign apparently and I thought that gray or navy would be too boring for such a large project.  You can buy gray or navy knitted afghans just about anywhere, and I wanted to use a color that was a little harder to come by.

I chose the Winter Lace Afghan pattern from Lion Brand available for free on Ravelry.  I chose the pattern before the yarn and I really thought that the gold (it looks like butterscotch) would be a great fit for the beautiful lace pattern.  I increased the size of the borders because I like thick borders on my quilts and I assumed the theory would transfer to knitwear, too.  I love the result.

I had to stop the lace pattern after 6 repeats instead of 7 like the pattern calls for, but the blanket still measures a healthy 45 inches by 55 inches . . . perfect for throw.  And since I used super bulky weight yarn, the blanket is heavy, but it's intensely warm.

At Christmas time with my family, I heard her planning her next blanket request.  As long as it can wait until her birthday in April, I'm down with another.  And there's always next Christmas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

striped knit christmas stockings

So the hub said to the boys one day, "I think mommy should knit us some Christmas stockings."  If I wasn't so excited that he (pretty much) requested something from me, the more logical part of me would have told him that he was crazy if he thought it would happen before this Christmas.  But few challenges have passed me by without some sort of effort.

The Challenge
  • knit 5 Christmas stockings before Christmas, preferrably at least a week before Christmas day
  • all five must be similar to show uniformity but not exactly the same
  • they must be oversized (this is one of the hub's problems with our current stockings)
  • the pattern must be simple enough to work without too much thought
  • they must be knit in the round (I refuse to knit flat when I don't have to)
Believe it or not, Ravelry doesn't have that many stocking patterns that do not include fair isle.  Don't get me wrong.  I would love to make 5 stockings using fair isle but that doesn't really fit any of my specs.  So I had to improvise.  And because I've never made a sock before, I really had to work at the toe and the heel to get them right.

These are the three that I managed to finish before Christmas, one for each of my three boys.  The blue is for Logan, the green for Trent, and I chose purple for Timmy's stocking.  For all the stockings I used stash yarn.  Timmy's stocking is purple (which I've chosen as his signature color because it would never be claimed by any other boys in my house) and I used leftover yarn from my Comfort Buttony that I knitted for myself; that was a special way for me to tie the two of us together.

 These stockings definitely fit the bill.  I used the same pattern for each but, depending on the yarn, the sizes are a little different.  Trent's stocking is the smallest at 16 inches around and 20 inches long while Timmy's stocking measures about the same 16 inches in circumference but a whopping 24 inches long.  That's more than half the length of my 6-year-old!  So these are definitely big enough for Santa to fit all the Christmas goodies!

Merry Christmas to my three darlings.