twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

What I should be doing today vs. what I want to be doing January 31, 2012

It generally goes like this, especially this time of year…

I should be:

In a house without a basement, can this room ever stay clean?!

  1. Reorganizing the “office/studio/cat bathroom foyer” so I have someplace to take new jewelry photos (yes indeed, see that little cat flap door there in the middle of the shot?),

2. Inputing my jewelry-making/yarn dyeing expenses so we can send our tax stuff to the amazing Victor,

Paper work...yawn.

3. Doing general houseworky things (though that’ll get done after I’m done writing here–I cannot stand an unmade bed!!).

Instead, I’d rather be watching the latest DVR’d episode of “Hoarders” and:

1. Casting on for this gorgeous new sweater pattern from “Knit, Swirl.” Unbelievable. Met the delightful designer and tried on her sample sweater and was instantly smitten,

2. Finishing this pair of cabled mitts I just designed and am calling “Anam Cara” (more on that during another post)(also using my hand-dyed yarn),

Knitting all those cables on the sweater made me want to do more!

3.Spinning! Yes, I finally broke down and got this gorgeous handmade wheel from a fellow Etsy seller, Scott Mack of Overland Handcraft. I took a private lesson from the charming and talented Sandy at Purlescence Yarn, my LYS, and am having a grand time of it.

At least I’ve finally focused over the last couple of weeks and finished my “Global Cables Coat” and report that I’ve been happily keeping myself cozy inside of it. Not that I didn’t have some issues with the collar, but the designer, Jen Hagan cleared it all up for me and I reworked the collar and it looks far better.

I must say that although I really love the knitting book ” Brave New Knits,” if you decide to make any one of the fab patterns, I’d recommend doing your due diligence checking for errata on Ravelry. Both patterns I’ve made so far, the Orchid Thief Shawl and the Global Cables Coat, have some serious errata, and the errata on the website doesn’t even mention the coat’s collar issue. 

Well, I suppose I’d better get a move on…

**BTW, I just want to apologize for the way this page laid itself out. I used a new blog feature that, IMHO, did not work the way I thought it would. Sorry for any reading difficulty, and thanks for stopping by!

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I’m spoiled… January 13, 2012

This was the first loaf I made. Since then, the bread I make looks lots better, and still tastes as great!

Yes, indeed, I am a spoiled girl…

Ever since I discovered the “No Knead Whole Wheat Bread” on the King Arthur Flour website, I’ve hardly bought bread from Safeway. Seriously.

Perfect with a pot of homemade soup

This bread is so fast, and so good, that it only takes about an hour of my time total, including setup and cleanup.

And the results.

My oh my.

The bread is tasty, moist, and probably better for us because all the ingredients are fresh. And, making it saves a heap of $$.

So, emboldened by this baking success, (remember, as a rule, I am not great at baking…) I tried yet another no knead recipe, “No Knead Oat Bread.”

This one is a little more time-consuming, and the actual baking a little more complicated, but the results are amazingly good.

You simply put all the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix away. Then you let it rise 8 hours or overnight.

Yes, 8 hours.

You probably have all the ingredients on hand.

I once actually raised it about 7 or so hours when I realized I didn’t have time before bed to rise it in the baking dish for an hour and bake it another hour. Poor planning on my part. So I popped in the fridge overnight. It took a little while for the dough to warm up enough to begin to rise again, but once it did, it was just fine.

The recipe says to use high gluten flour, and while I’m sure it’s best to follow the recipe, I must say I only use bread flour and it turns out delish each time. Instead of a cast iron dutch oven, I use my big white Corningware casserole and bake the loaf at a lower temperature, since most of the comments mention the problems with the crust getting too dark.

And the loaf turns out perfect…and huge.

Because it’s a sweetish bread, I usually add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the dough, and before I put it into the casserole, I flatten it out, sprinkle on more cinnamon, as well as raisins and walnuts, then roll it up.

Why don't any of the breads I photograph ever look as good as they taste?

And if there’s any left after a few days, it makes super-de-duper french toast, too.

Ah yes, now you know why I’m spoiled.

It’s all part of my plan to try to learn to make more of our foods from scratch. In these days of inflation and processed food everywhere I look, I believe my family will benefit.

Something in me is wanting to get back to basics lately. Not sure why, but I’m gonna try to go with it for now. Wanna join me?

I can’t wait to show you what I’m up to next!

 

Blessings January 1, 2012

Filed under: life — kathy @ 3:21 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It's Lucy! She's a stuffie I made for the Bug for Christmas. Great pattern!

I suppose it’d be an understatement to say it’s been a while since I posted anything here. The end of 2011 was one of the busiest year-ends ever, and at one point I realized I had to just put my head down and power through it all. In fact this year I did so much jewelry-making and gift knitting that a few nights I thought I might be having a heart attack because my right arm ached so much!  Unfortunately focusing on getting stuff finished for the holidays also meant I had to let some other things things slip, like making our traditional plum pudding and gingerbread cookies, and sadly, writing my blog.

A shot of just a few of the pieces from my Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show. More photos at the end of this blog.

So let me start this brief post by saying, “Happy New Year” to one and all. I wish each of you a coming year that’s full of happiness, and experiences that are rich and fulfilling.

For myself, I must question “Where will I start this new year?”

I tend to compartmentalize when I think. I’m great at multi-tasking only when it comes to taking care of our home: cooking dinner while doing a load of laundry, helping with homework, and answering emails.

When it comes to my “creative work,” however, I’m happiest with the outcomes when I focus on one creative thing at a time, whether it’s writing, knitting, jewelry, dyeing yarn…whatever.

So over the next few days, I’m puttin’ on my sorting hat, figuring out which one of my “things” to start with, and then hitting it. Hard.

One thing’s certain; I’ll continue to practice something I started doing full time at the beginning of this past autumn: I give thanks and count my blessings as I fall asleep every night. I find that despite the inevitable difficulties that crop up in my life and slow me down, I have more blessings in my life than I can count, and invariably I go to sleep with a smile on my face instead staying awake worrying.

Here’s to you my friends–please know you are counted in my blessings, and I’ll strive to keep in touch with you here far better than I have in the past year.

 Here are a few pictures from the many things I did the past two months:
Talisman Rocks Holiday Trunk Show:
Some knitted giftes (there are several more I forgot to take pictures of!):
 

 
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