Staying warm

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Winter doesn't really get all that brutal where we live, which is fine by me. I don't miss the winters of New Hampshire. Nope, not even a little. Our proximity to Mt. Hood means that epic quantities of snow are never more than an hour away, come winter, should we care to find it. But, the past few weeks have been pretty darn chilly, at least by my standards. You know that's a great time for bread baking.

Because people have asked, this focaccia (revisited) now comes complete with recipe. Just click the gooey, warm cheese topping to get the recipe for yourself.

Focaccia Bread w/recipe
I believe the word I'm looking for is, "omnomnomnom"

Since last I posted around these parts, I completed my first physics class since junior high and managed to maintain my 4.0 (woohoo). Even though it was physics-light (and yes, we did actually cover the physics of light, amongst many other topics) it was, without a doubt, the hardest course I've taken in college. There was much hand wringing as I logged in to check my grade.


Look at all my largely useless transfer credits

It's sometimes a challenge to juggle work, school and knitting, but honestly, I just look out the window and I can't help but smile.

Foggy sunrise
I love this view.

And then there's (come on, you knew it was coming) the puppy contingent. They are really just far too cute for their own good.

Breakfast nook
Keeping me company while I work.


Lazy Sunday
Trying to sleep despite the camera in her face.

I guess that's about all from the house of hair, for now. Till next time, here's hoping your days are filled with carbs and puppies too.

Why I'm rarely grumpy

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snugglypups

That is all.

Ok, there's also this

Focaccia Bread from start to belly


But I'd choose the former over the latter, if pressed.

Coast, Kool-Aid and Kale

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I don't ever recall Thanksgiving being particularly stressful, as a kid, but really, what's there to be stressed about other than the inevitable battle for that first slice of turkey breast with the big piece of crispy skin.* I'm sure it was much harder for the adults with all the cooking, cleaning and kid/drunk in-law wrangling, but as a kid, it always just seemed like lots of good food and playing with the cousins. As adults, I think Leo and I have kept a lot of the same relaxed attitude. We don't tend to make a production of the holiday, thought we do like some good lumpy mashed potatoes and crispy bird skin on a plate. Since we have yet to really put our new kitchen through the paces, we did (and by we, I mean me) a whole chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, dressing and cranberry sauce and dug in at our leisure. I'm still working through the last of the starchiest bits.

And being the long weekend that Thanksgiving is, we had plenty of time to fit in a trip to the ocean on Saturday. It was brisk but dry and that's pretty much good enough for us. I don't think the dogs have ever been put out by a little cold weather.

Manzanita Oregon -- November 27, 2009 Mosaic
1. Leo got frenched by a puppy, 2. Thea takes a victory lap, 3. Birds, 4. Throw it again, 5. Lift off, 6. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 7. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 8. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 9. More birds, 10. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 11. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 12. Manzanita Oregon November 27, 2009, 13. Where'd it go?
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I also finished spinning about 200 yards of some angora, alpaca and soy silk I hand carded together. Using a bit of Kool-Aid, I dyed it in three successive dye baths to get a rich orange shade.

Bath 1: 1 orange + 1 lemon aid packet

Kool Aid dyeing

Bath 2: 2 orange + 1 lemon aid packet

Kool-Aid dyed Handspun Yarn

Bath 3: 1 tropical punch packet

Kool-Aid dyed Handspun Yarn

I love the color and it smells so sweet. I find dyeing really stressful, because you can't really undo it if you blow it, but this time seem to work out great.

To finish off the long weekend, I made a big batch of lemon garlic crispy kale.

Crispy Kale Chips Crispy Kale Chips

Click either image for the recipe, inasmuch as it is one.

I hope all of you had a lovely weekend too.

*Most of my teen and college years, I did thanksgiving at friends houses and I watched in horror, one year as my friend's mother whipped her mashed potatoes (no lumps!) and removed the skin from the turkey after cooking. I've never fully recovered from the memory.

Little things make me thankful

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After weeks of mostly rain, we have a gorgeous sunshiney day, two antsy dogs and a tank full of gas. We're off to the ocean (can't say "beach" or the dogs will go crazy pants.) Before I go, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of my most recent finished object. I'll have better pictures in the near future, over in ravelry.

SimpleThingswithPups

This project is Mary-Heather Cogar's Simple Things Shawlette. It was exactly what I needed to work on while I wait for yarn to arrive for my next deadline project. I followed the pattern, almost to the letter, except that I omitted one repeat of the garter ridge. I used this bind off to get a good loose edge and it worked a charm.

As a side note, for no real reason whatsoever, except that I have a slightly geeky side, I created a little spreadsheet that can be used to plan out yardage for any triangular shawl that increases 4 sts every other row. You would have to expand the number of rows for longer shawls (like my La Cumparsita) or delete rows for shorter shawls.

Why would you use this? Well, let's say the pattern called for 400 yards of yarn and you have 350. You could use this to determine approximately how many rows you could actually work, without running out of yarn mid-row. Alternately, you might simply like to know when you are actually at the halfway point, or how far through the project you've gotten. Anyway, if you want to play around with it, you can download the file here.

Note: this does not have any information about the shawlette or any other pattern in it, it's simply a tool for calculating stitch counts and yardage in triangular shawl pattern. I am offering this for free for your own use, personal or commercial, but I cannot offer you technical support for this file. It is yours to play with but you will need to understand excel or open office to edit it and I cannot train you to use those programs. If you wish to modify it to be more functional, I would love it if you'd share it with others, and pass along your expertise.

Successful Lace Knitting

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Almost three years ago, if I have the time line correct, Donna Druchunas asked me if I'd be interested in submitting a design for a book she was working on. She had a variety of lace stitches we could choose from and our pieces had to feature at least one of those stitch patterns.

Donna just released a couple of the pictures from the book, Successful Lace Knitting: Bringing Dorothy Reade's Patterns and Techniques to Today's Knitters, and, lookie, mine is one of the ones she's previewing.


Photos by Brent Kane, copyright Martingale & Company

You can see the other pieces she's previewing here.

I'm knee-deep in deadline knitting. I like to think that means I'm embracing my alter ego:

The Knitter
The Knitter

The upside is, I think I make a decent super villain. The downside is, I won't have much to blog until the end of the holiday season.

I'll try to slip you a few pup posts in the interim, you know. like this, where I send my dog out into hail.

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