I'm not so much the domestic type, especially in the kitchen, I have a few decent dishes I can pull out in a pinch but mostly I classify my cooking style is "faux-made," whereby I spruce up ready-made dishes. But hey, I can do things to ramen that would rock your world.

Still, there are a few things that are easy enough that even I can make them from scratch (I get a pass on broth and canned tomatoes, right?) and stews are top on that list. I love stew, with its big chunks of yummy goodness and lots of veggies and some sort of starch. (I have a love for carbs that knows no bounds.)

Lately, I've been exploring lentils. I don't much care for beans but I wanted to get more legumes into my life, so, lentils it is. A little reading online and what I discovered (no attempt has been made to determine the veracity of these claims) about lentils is:

  • Don't cook your lentils with salt, they get tough
  • Standard lentils are better for soups than the various color ones because they stay firmer
  • The "best" lentils for soups are the French Green
  • Hard water can make lentils tough
  • You don't have to soak the lentils ahead of time but it's often recommended anyway.
  • Otherwise, you really can't mess them up

So, with that in mind, I created this fairly simple concoction.

Not Quite Vegetarian -- but could be -- Veggie Lentil Soup

I'll make note of how you could make this vegan, were you so inclined.

Ingredients 1 Ingredients 2
a whole lotta stuff

Makes oodles, halve or quarter if you don't plan to freeze some of it.


  • 1 c. - dry standard lentils
  • 1 c. - dry french green lentils
  • 1 - sweet onion
  • 1 - head of garlic
  • 2Tbs - fresh thyme
  • 3lbs - fingerling potatoes (I really like taters, adjust to your taste)
  • 1.5lb - carrots
  • 3 c. - mushrooms
  • 3 oz - pancetta (1 package, give or take) leave out for vegetarian
  • olive oil
  • 2 cans - diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart - chicken broth replace with vegetable broth for vegetarian
  • 2Tbs - tomato sauce (or to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Garnish goodness. Use some or all.

  • olive oil
  • fresh cilantro or parsley
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh grated parmesan omit for vegan

I'm just dyeing to show you this


These aren't the best photos ever taken, but I wanted to record my first ever dyeing experiment. If you can believe it, I started with some handspun cashmere. I know, loco.

But, lest you think I'm completely irrational, part of the reason I went with cashmere is that I knew it would just languish in a big pile of undyed lovely handspun I have sitting around and also, it doesn't felt, so it'd be harder to ruin. So there, method + madness = marnie.

Dyeing Cashmere
1. Undyed Cashmere, 2. Cashmere in Black Cherry Kool-Aid, 3. Cashmere dyed with Kool-Aid, 4. Overdyeing Cashmere, 5. Kool-Aid used for overdyeing, 6. Exhausted dye bath, 7. First go at dyeing, 8. First go at dyeing
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.


  • Fiber: Mongolian Cashmere
  • Yards: 168
  • Source: Chameleon Colorworks
  • Plies: 2 (using the Andean Plying method. Can you say, "hand cramp"?)
  • WPI: 12
  • First Dye: 2 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid
  • Second Dye: 1 packet of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and 1 packet of Grape Kool-Aid

I found out the hard way that you need to tie your figure eight even looser than you think you need to. My first dye session didn't quite get around some of the knots and left a few white patches. I knew I was going to overdye the yarn so I figured it'd just add more interest, but it still wasn't my intention, you know? To make sure the second pass dyed properly over those spots, I reskeined the yarn to distribute the light patches, and tied really loose figure eights all around. Way more beuno.

The second go, I used two flavors and, what surprised me is that the yarn drank the grape way faster than it drank the blue raspberry lemonade. The water started out a deep dark, nearly black purple, but was pure cyan about ten minutes after dropping the yarn in. It took almost a full hour for all the cyan to be absorbed. So there you go, cashmere likes grape. Take note.

So dyeing went fine. I'm not sure it's my "thing" but I'm glad I gave it a go. Kool-Aid is a great safe bet for the uninitiated who has some wool lying around. If you want to learn more, yourself, you can check out this knitty article.

Keeping it simple


As much as I love wearing scarves I really don't enjoy knitting them, but throw me in front of a loom and I can't stop myself.

My third scarf is a simple pattern: just a strand each of tencel and cotton in similar colors.

Simple Purple Scarf
1. Simple Purple Scarf, 2. Simple Purple Scarf detail, 3. Simple Purple Scarf, 4. Simple Purple Scarf
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

The colors both catch the light slightly differently giving it just a little bit of depth and texture. And since there's no wool, it's a great all seasons wrap or scarf. I can see keeping this in my beach bag and throwing it over my shoulders once the sun sets.

Project Specs

Simple Purple Scarf and pup

As always, my quality control inspector was never far.



As much as I love my wheel, there's something truly satisfying about spinning yarn on a spindle, and my spindles are quite lovely, don't you think?


I wanted to play around with combining colorways and pulled out some variegated orange and pink fiber as well as some warm vivid red, both merino/silk blends. I thought the solid red would dominate. It's so intense on its own, but the finished yarn really just looks like an intensified version of the variegated fiber.


I'm thinking it'd be pretty knit up into some sort of lace. I've only used about a third of the total quantity, maybe less, so I should be able to get a decent amount of yardage out of my stash.


Wanna watch?


I love watching people spin.

Now, I'm no Abby or Beth or Janel or Jenny. I'm just a novice spinner, so definitely don't take this as a technique post.

But in the interest of doing unto others and blah blah blah, here's me spinning on my 0.9 ounce Golding Spindle.

If you are so inclined and technologically capable, I'd love it if you posted a video of your own spinning style too. Just leave a comment here and let me know if you do so.

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