Sprucing Up Slim 🎃

When I was in town last week, I stopped by a new thrift store in Columbus. I found this cowboy pumpkin for $3.99! I’ve been wanting a new ceramic jack o’lantern, but I didn’t want to spend $60. This one is better, anyway. Look at all that character! I named him Slim

As you can see, he had a weird black splodge on his hat. I ordered some orange enamel paint to cover that up.

I thought as long as I was at it, I’d go ahead and get him a star for his hat. Then I thought I’d be really funny, and find a pentagram.

I ended up with a pentacle, but it works. Meet Slim, the good Sheriff of Witchwood! Happy Fall Equinox!

Wednesday: It’s a Wrap! Or, a Haunted Hap?

While running through the haunted woods behind her house, the author’s shawl gets hung on tree branches. Should she turn and rescue it? Or keep running? What is she running from? Is it the Blair Witch? Hold on… Wait a minute… She IS the witch! Stop running, witch! Put your shawl back on and go home.

I finished knitting my Halloween Livie shawl! Pattern is Livie by Tamy Gore. Yarn is Spectacular from Knit Circus in Trick or Treat and Quoth the Raven.

I started knitting this last October, but realized pretty quickly I was not going to be able to finish it by Halloween. I was also annoyed that I had to take the stitch marker off every right side row and move it. Fast forward to July 2022: I loved knitting this! It was great TV knitting, intuitive and repetitive, and the whole stitch marker thing became part of the rhythm. (I guess I was more grumpy and stressed last year. Funny how that works.)

As much as I love a good wrap, let’s face it. I’ll be wearing it more like this.

Happy Paranormal Day!

Did you know May 3rd is Paranormal Day? I didn’t either, but I follow a lot of paranormal accounts, so that’s how I found out. How does one celebrate Paranormal Day? If you’re like me, you combine your special interests and sew a paranormal themed dress!

Yep, it’s another Melba Dress in Spoonflower “Phantasmagoria” fabric, which I caught on sale. I’m planning to wear this to the Ohio State Reformatory on May 21 for ParaPsycon. Bob and my kids are taking me for my birthday!

I like this dress paired with ankle boots and a denim jacket, but I’m a child of the 80’s so I like everything with a denim jacket.

I felt like this dress was screaming for a scarf (see what I did there) but now I’m not so sure.

I think I might need a spooky statement necklace and dangly earrings.

I’m planning to knit a Halloween cardigan this year, too, and I’m hoping it will work with this dress.

How would you style it?

I Only Have YOP for You 💝

Happy Valentine’s Eve! I had a busy week at work and didn’t get much making done.

Knitting

I continue to knit daily on Arrowhead and Musselburgh. I wound the yarn for my Taxus Mittens, as it is time for The Woolly Thistle’s annual colorwork accessory knitalong. I participated last year with the Kenora Toque. This is a knitalong where I had my pick from something already on my list. The yarn is Tukuwool Fingering.

Sewing

I sewed myself a red velour dress for Valentine’s. It will work equally well for Christmas. Truth be told, I have a yardage of green too, so I’ll probably make another one. The pattern is the Piedra dress from Seamwork. I love sewing this dress, although I added the pockets.

I finished adhering the interfacing to my Clare coat fabric. I cut the Thinsulate with the coat pieces, but did some research and found out I should have cut them with the lining. Oops. Well hopefully I can still use them by cutting them down and, if not, I’ll use wool batting with the lining fabric instead.

In other news, I went to the Wild and Wooly Fiber Expo in Cleveland yesterday. I enjoyed myself and came home a few new skeins and a braid of Targhee to spin. Bob and I are having a Superb Owl party today, which means we’re eating pizza and watching What We Do in the Shadows instead of football.

This has been a Year Of Projects update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Burns Night Gluten Free Oat Cakes

My oat cakes came out delicious. I had one with butter and marionberry jam for breakfast.

I based my recipe on this one, but made some modifications.

  • 1 cup coarsely ground gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter at room temperature (I used Flora, my new favorite. You could also use regular butter. I used salted, but you can use unsalted and increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

I dumped everything except the hot water into my mixing bowl and stirred on low. Then I slowly added the hot water about 1 tablespoon at a time to bind the dough. Once it held together and pulled away from the sides of the bowl, I stopped. If you accidentally add too much hot water and your dough is too wet, just add more oat flour until the consistency is right. The dough should be firm and not sticky.

Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper and cut using a round 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Once the oven is preheated, bake the oatcakes on a cookie sheet with parchment paper for 25-30 minutes, until browning at the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack until cool. (My dough didn’t actually need the parchment paper for rolling or baking, so you could try it without.)

Yesterday, I pick up rutabagas and russets for Bob to make neeps and tatties. My switchel is brewing in the frig, and it tastes pretty good! I’ll post again later to share pics of the feast.

In Betwixt Yarn Advent

I was very pleased with my yarn advent from Lizzie Bird Yarns. It’s an “in betwixt” set for the days between Christmas and New Year’s. As you can see, it came with each skein lovingly wrapped, plus lots of special goodies, including a sweet set of gingerbread stitch markers.

I chose the Log Cabin set, and I love the subdued colors and gold sparkle. As fate would have it, I have a skein of Campfire Yarn’s Cranberry Forest with gold stellina that is a perfect match for this set. It was a gift, and I’m excited to put these together for a Yuletide shawl later this year.

I have to say, I am really glad I purchased a yarn advent and didn’t just go with my DIY idea — which honestly was kind of a let down. I love the advent chest, though, so I’ll try to come up with a different idea to use it next year.

Did you receive any yarn over the holidays? Are you already planning your holiday knits for 2022, as I am? I would love to hear about it.

A Look Back: 2021 in Photos

Despite the pandemic, I had a good year. My intention for 2022 is to slow down a bit and “conserve,” i.e. energy and resources. I’ll be starting each day with gratitude and appreciation for my abundant life, and taking it one day at a time. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve, Already?

Well, that week flew by. I’ve been sick for almost my entire vacation. I’m trying not to have sour grapes about it, but instead be thankful I was off so I could rest and recuperate. Bob and I both tested negative for Covid, so I guess it’s a flu or cold.

I am glad I was able to spend some time getting organized this week. I knit several rows on my Arrowhead Cardigan, and realized I need to take my time with it. The all-over colorwork wears me out.

Arrowhead Cardigan Plan

My new and improved plan is to knit one row each day until I finish the body, then tackle the sleeves and finishing. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the sweater by the first week of April. Maybe I’ll even get to wear it this spring a few times before it warms up.

Logan Shacket Pattern by Style Arc

I’ve decided to sew a couple of Logan Shackets: one in a cotton plaid flannel from my fabric stash, and the other in the navy wool flannel. Because I anticipate my sewing machine will struggle with buttonholes, I’m going to use big sew on snaps for them. If you would like to see some shackets in action, while also listening to some beautiful music, check out this link. I won’t make mine that long, though.

In other news, we have a new member of our family. A little black kitty found his way to us. He is sweet and very friendly. We posted around in case someone was looking for him, but we think he may have been dumped. He is adorable and has been adopted by our daughter Mackenzie. We will have to say farewell once she finds a new place, but I think this kitty was just what she needed. JoJo hasn’t met him yet as the vet told us to keep him quarantined for two weeks.

Bob jarred four quarts of apple cider vinegar yesterday made with apples from our apple trees. He’s also made sauerkraut for New Year’s Day, to have with collards, black eyed peas, and vegan bratwurst.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, and like and comment this year. It means a lot to me. I appreciate the friendship, support, and encouragement. I’ve met so many wonderful people here! I hope you have a very Happy New Year’s Eve and a relaxing, peaceful New Year’s Day. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2022!

Merry Christmas Pudding

This year I made my first Christmas pudding. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t a triumph, either. I followed this recipe with some modifications.

I substituted sunflower seeds for walnuts, and apple cider for brandy. Dried fruit mix included dates, figs, currants, raisins, apricots, and sour cherries.

I steamed it in a glass bowl inside a canning pot. It set up okay, but was soggy. I made some crème anglaise with oat milk, which split and was very runny indeed. Tasted okay, though.

In other dodgy baking news, I purchased some divinity for myself as I love it during the holidays but don’t want the trouble of making it. It’s hard to find divinity without tree nuts (pecans, usually, or sometimes walnuts). I found some peppermint divinity on Etsy, and it’s delicious but super sweet, so I decided to roll it to make my own logs with crushed candy canes, bittersweet chocolate chips, and sunflower seeds.

Next year I’ll purchase some plain divinity and roll it in sunflower seeds. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

Christmas dinner is tacos and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie, which Bob made so it will be delicious.

Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and gentle holiday season.

Winter Solstice Hand Warmers

My youngest asked me about some handwarmers to use on her walks through the woods. I did a little research, and they are easy to make. Many sites come up if you google “DIY hand warmers.” I read a few to get the gist, and then proceeded to make my own. The following recipe makes two 3 inch square hand warmers.

What you need:

  1. cotton, linen, or wool fabric scraps
  2. whole flax seed
  3. a little dried lavender or other herbs if you are feeling fancy and want them to have a fragrance, although the flaxseed smells wonderful on its own
  4. small funnel
  5. cotton thread preferable, but poly thread works

Directions:

  1. Cut four 3 and 1/2 inch squares of 100% cotton fabric. (You could also use linen or wool, but don’t use anything synthetic.)
  2. Finish one edge of each square separately by serging or zig zag stitch. This will be the top edge seam.
  3. Place two squares together with right sides together, top seams matching, for each hand warmer.
  4. For each hand warmer, sew or serge the other three sides together with a seam allowance of about 1/4 inch. Finish the seams with a zig zag stitch if not serging. This is important, as flax seeds are small and you don’t want them working themselves out.
  5. Turn the hand warmers inside out. Turn the top edges under 1/4 inch. Press.
  6. Sew around all the edges of each square, about 1/8 inch from the edge. Sew along the top edge as well, leaving about 1/2 inch open so you can fill the pouch with flax seeds.
  7. Using a small funnel, fill the hand warmers with whole flax seeds as full as you can without allowing them to spill out.
  8. Stitch the opening closed either by hand or using your sewing machine.

That’s it. Pretty simple!

Directions for use:

  1. Place the hand warmers in the microwave for 30 seconds on high
  2. Take them out carefully (they’re hot!)
  3. Pop one into each pocket. These will keep your hands warm for 15-20 minutes, maybe longer!

This made a nice little Winter Solstice gift for my youngest along with a chocolate. These would also make great stocking stuffers!