Sunday, February 28, 2010


An accumulation of gratitude, snow, and granola bars...
I thought I should drop in here to say, "Phew! February is on it's way out!" And I would like to say thank you for all the encouragement to be bold back to this longest shortest month, and return all the virtual high-fives you gave me about the Crafty Crow appearance. Thank You!This is some of the beautiful snow that fell last week. Here is what we did with some of it:*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
For some reason today, I just had to make granola bars. I haven't tried making it from scratch before. I've found it hard to find one that I really like at the store. I'm picky about the bars I buy; I don't tolerate cashews, don't want the chocolate (I know, I know, blasphemous), like a good portion of chew, a titch of salt, and not too sweet. Please. Oh, and I love knowing exactly what's in there. I guess it should have occurred to me sooner. I tweeked a recipe I found over at delicious Smitten Kitchen. My modifications: I only had whole almonds, so I sent them through the nut-grinder. I didn't have wheat germ, so substituted oat bran. In my impatience, I added the oat bran before I was instructed, so it got toasted with the oats, almonds, and coconut (unsweetened); no harm done. Our honey is very solid, so I melted it a bit before mixing it in. And I felt compelled to add 2 tbls of butter, melted (Deb said I could!) For fruit I used dried cranberries, dried apricots, and raisins. You can see the sunflower seeds on top; that's because I forgot to mix them in. I just pushed them onto the top of the granola bars after it was all pressed into the pan. YUM. I think you should make some too. {By the way, that rigatoni is calling my name!}

So, if you're reading, you've made it through February too! Hooray for us! I hope to have a finished object (or two) to share later this week. Time to check out the Closing Ceremonies; the Olympics really helped me through this last bit of the calendar. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

moments like these

Often, when I cook, I visualize a scene of the ideal setting for the food I'm preparing (there's that optimism again). Sometimes, that fantasy can be the push I need to add just that extra side-dish, condiment, or garnish. Sometimes, more than not, the vision can lead to frustration too, wishing I had that sprig of parsley that would be so pretty or those olives that would be the perfect salty tidbit. Sometimes, though, the whole picture comes together like this... ... a new cookie recipe, a new knitting project, and a perfect cup of coffee in my favorite mug! I found the peanut butter cookies through Leslie, and with their perfect little garnish they sure make me smile. I'm knitting this top with a merino wool & silk blend which weighs next to nothing and is very soft. The silk gives the fabric a gloss and the rustic spinning keeps it all from being too sleek; a perfect combination in my opinion!

What moments are you savoring?

Oh, and guess what?! The Heart-felt Tutorial is in Crafty Crow, an awesome on-line craft project resource! I emailed Cassi of Crafty Crow to offer the tutorial thinking that it was a bit late for another Valentine's Day project, but feeling brave and that I should just try. I had cruised the projects for a week or so after I emailed Cassi, but didn't see it. Then just last week, I received an email from Helen of Curly Birds thanking me for the tutorial she found on Crafty Crow (Helen's heart pouches are so sweet). I had all but forgotten about the submission. I could (can) hardly believe it! Whoopee!!! Big news for little ol' moi. Thank you to Helen for the tip-off and thank you to Cassi for the link-up!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Buffer, filter, protection... whatever you call it, I've been applying it in many forms. In my last post I mentioned getting away and lots of tea, additionally there have been pots of soup and baking, game playing, reading, and most recently Olympics watching. Throughout all of those wonderful modes of coping with February, there is the constant presence of my wool & needles. Here is the way I've been buffering my noggin from the cold:
It's a Coline hat from Lucy at {a-black-pepper}. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca in color 6257 and size 8 needles. In the pattern, Lucy has links to a few versions of a tubular cast-on, and I used Ysolda's from that list. Had I the right (smaller) needles with me on our get away, I think the cast-on edge would not roll at all, but I only had the 8's. So there's a tiny roll and it has grown on me, and I kind of like it now. The pattern is perfect and clear. I had not worked cables in a long time and was a bit tentative, but I really wanted this hat. Can you see that some of the areas within the cables are in stockinette stitch and some are in reverse stockinette stitch? I didn't notice that until I sat with the pattern, but it really makes the pattern special and is probably what subconsciously attracted me to this cable hat over others I have seen. I love the effect! I made the medium size hat, and it fits very well. I love it with my new red down coat! (hey, there's another buffer!) {eta: the designer's name is Lucy, for some reason thru a message on Ravelry, I got the idea her name was Kim... even though I was pretty sure it was Lucy. Strangeness. Anyway, Lucy is the creative brilliance at {a-black-pepper}, you should check her out!}
Also, I have a new top to protect me from our drafty windows! It's very comfortable and colorful. It is a Grown-up Girl Neighborly from Larissa of Stitches in Play. She modified Jennifer's (JCasa*Handmade) original Neighborly (for little girls) which I love too. Hana will get one someday. Jennifer's concept for Neighborly includes knitting an additional top for someone else, a "neighbor" so to speak. So, to honor her intention, there'll be probably at least two more coming off my needles! It was a pleasure to knit in an adult size, so I can only imagine that it will be quick and fun in wee sizes. My top turned out to be a stash-buster as I've had the two skeins of navy Lamb's Pride in the Stash for about ten years! The two skeins of Noro Kureyon are newer, but still had been in the Stash for a good while. Very satisfying to be chipping away at the Stash! Even Hana's color choices are skeins from the Stash. (there are more details & modification notes on my Ravelry page)
So that is how I've been holding winter's cold at bay. Simple, humble knitting. To cheer my soul and warm my bones. Thank goodness for the tools at hand and for having the able hands to apply to comfort. click. click. click...
How have you been comforting yourself through these days?
Ps - Thank you for the pep-talk in the comments on my last post. It has truly put a bounce in my snowboots! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

eternal optimist

My feelings about the month of February boil down to a feeling that it is to be endured. It has seemed this way since some time in high school, so some 27 (!) years ago. However, I am an eternal optimist; my husband has even called my optimism dangerous, as in it is dangerous for me to be optimistic about everything, it can cause disappointments (he says this out of concern for my well-being). He exaggerates, but in a way, he is right. Each year, as February rolls around, I give myself a pep-talk and make plans to power through. I tell myself, "Really, Annri, this is the shortest month; buck up, power through, it can't be that bad." And then, for the most part, February shows up and messes with me.

Now, I like to tell it like it is, not too much sugar-coating because I don't like to play Fool to Reality. Here we sit at the half-way point, and I'm still fighting back (imagine me in a put-up-your-dukes stance like the NotreDame leprechaun), so that's a good sign, right? And if I look at this February through my usual rose-tinted glasses, by George, I'm still standing! Sure, we were sick, but we're better now. Sure, February is grey, but we've got a bunch of snow now! Sure, the walls start to move in closer by this point in winter, but I got away last weekend! Sure, it's taken boxes of St.John'sWort tea (with orange rinds added!), but there's nothing wrong with that! I'm chipping away at the yarn Stash, that's good! I've enhanced the Stash, and that's always good! I'm finishing some projects that have been hanging around for a long time, that's good!

So to summarize, it seems that this year I am tipping the scales, folks! Call me optimistic, but I think that here at the half-way point, I'm staring February down, and I think I see its knees shaking a bit! Cheer for me, okay?