Finished Project: Pumpkin Hat

I finished another little project last week. This was a quick but adorable hat for a newborn baby. 

  
Pumpkin Hat was an easy pattern to follow and turned out so cute. He turns three weeks old Monday and we tried it on him tonight and it fit. I modified the pattern by doing one less pattern repeat and I used a bulky yarn. 

  

Finally finished a project 

I have been a knitting dud this year. Seriously. I have four projects I would consider myself actively interested in right now. One project I should just frog. And another crochet project that I have such high hopes for but just forget to work on. And then there’s my sock. I think I should just make it a Christmas ornament because it’s never getting its match. I don’t think. 

Anyway, the good news is that I finished my Mara shawl that started back in the spring at my knitting retreat. 

   
 
I loved this pattern because it was easy to memorize and knit up super fast. Well until that ruffled edge. That’s well over 550 stitches of rib. Some nights after one row, my hands just hurt. But the ruffle looks pretty so I guess it was worth it. 

  

I used a worsted weight yarn that I dyed with my friends and it was so fun to see the colors knit up. 

  
It’s good that it’s starting to get cool because I’m excited to wear this. And maybe I’ll tackle the pockets on my Miele vest so I can actually finish something else. It is also seasonably appropriate. 

Getting the new year started with a short recap

Usually I am very excited to talk about all the projects I knit throughout the year but I only finished five projects in 2014. I didn’t knit as much this year (or post about it) but I like that the items I completed were very satisfying.

Eyelet and Cable hat

Hermione’s Cable and Eyelet Hat – this was knit for a friend’s mom who was going through chemotherapy.

lemongrass sweater

Lemongrass –  my first sweater and it fit!  And I wear it and it’s warm and cozy and hasn’t fallen apart!

age of brass and steam

Age of Brass And Steam – during the summer I needed to knit with more color and I love this yarn so much.

simple hat

Hat to Match – I wear this hat all the time and I love that I bought the yarn at Purl Soho when I was in the city with my friend Elena.

dropstitchcowl

Drop Stitch Cowl – I knit this for a special milestone birthday for a good friend.  This pattern had been in my queue forever and I was glad to finally have a reason to knit it up.

I hope I can finish more projects in 2015. I’m working on this vest right now and I’m itching do more color work and thinking of also casting on these mittens.  I want to continue to learn new things and just enjoy knitting.

Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

It’s been a while since we’ve tried a new recipe and one that I absolutely loved.  But tonight we made a great one.

Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine from the most issue of Cooking Light was really easy to put together.

Chickpea and Vegetable TagineThe recipe suggested serving over quinoa but we had couscous on hand and used that. It was so flavorful because of the cinnamon, cardamon, cumin and turmeric and the cooked tomatoes. We grilled chicken for the week and had that as well but this easily could have been it’s own meal.

Meatball Stroganoff

Last night we tried another new recipe.  I found Meaball Stroganoff in the September issue of Cooking Light. I’ve been really wanting some kind of stroganoff and egg noodles, so this was perfect.

It was pretty easy to follow and Mike and I worked on it together.  It did take a bit of time but was worth it for a weekend night when cooking is more like a fun activity versus a weeknight race to get something finished without having to eat too late.

Ours didn’t thicken up as nicely as the picture and I think that’s because I didn’t have the heat high enough when I added the wine and it took a while to reduce and finally I just continued with the instructions. It was still full of flavor and we’ll definitely make it again.

Meatball Stroganoff

Two-Potato Latkes

We went to Philadelphia for the Thanksgiving weekend to visit our families.

Wednesday night was the first night of Hanukkah so we made potato latkes for dinner. My mom had both baking and sweet potatoes and we found this Cooking Light Two-Potato Latkes recipe for the ingredients.

We opted for the not so light but more traditional cooking method.

latkesWe had both sour cream and applesauce for our latkes, along with a childhood favorite, cornflake chicken, and steamed green beans.  I am not a huge potato fan so adding the sweet potatoes into these latkes made them perfect for me.

latkesplateWe also had this great hard cider with dinner.

goodintentfrontGood Intent Cider is my friend Jenn and her husband Adam’s business.  They make it on his family farm in Gettysburg and it is so good. This version is a special bourbon barrel aged cider and it’s dry with a hint of bourbon flavor.  It was the perfect compliment to our dinner.

goodintentbackThere are still a few more nights of Hanukkah but the latkes are a great side dish any time of year.  We even warmed the leftovers in a pan the next morning and made an egg hash for breakfast.  And if you are in Gettysburg or State College, definitely try Good Intent Cider.

Bathroom Update

Our bathroom renovation is finally complete!

We live in a 1.5 bathroom house and the main bath was out of date, crowded and in need of an overhaul. We used Bartley Builders for the project and cannot be more pleased with the results.

Here is what it looked like before.

It was a lot of cream and brass and horrible floors that were peeling up around the sink.

002 (3)The sink was very low, especially for Mike.

003 (3)The light fixture on the ceiling was hideous and the fan was old and noisy.

009 (3)The light above the sink was pretty terrible too.

010 (3) 011 (3)The shower was the worst.  The plumbing had some problems and would never quite come out strong enough up top.  The bath fitter was some weird color and the tub was pretty shallow and would never have accommodated a bath.

016 (4) 017 (4)More hideous brass.

019 (3)Doug and Aaron were over every day for two weeks working on this project.

First they started tearing everything out.

012 (2)I guess we’re lucky that we didn’t have to live with that lovely flooring for the last seven years.  Nice of the previous owners to just cover it up.

017 (2)

001 (2)They found some plumbing issues with the shower that they worked on.

003 (2)This tub is bigger and deeper than the old but takes up a bit less space.

004 (2)They were kind enough to make it so that we could still shower each day since it’s our only one in the house.

007 (2)The job site foremen did a great job inspecting the work.

009 (2) Then they started tiling the floor. 012 (3)Next it was time to tile the shower.013 (3) 014 (3)The original decorative tile we selected turned out to be brittle and hard to work with due to the variations in size but we made a last minute switch to this tile.

016 (3) 017 (3) 018 (2)Then they painted a very light gray color on the wall and started installing all the new fixtures.

019 (2)The new sink and vanity are taller and more narrow giving more space to move in the room.021 (2)This is our water efficient toilet.022 (2)The shower head is up higher to accommodate Mike’s height.023 (2) 026 (2) 028I love this light over the sink but it’s been challenging to find bulbs that fit it.010There’s a new fan and overhead light.011

And glass shower doors that make the room seem even bigger.002 004

And this is the entire room. 006 Here’s a side by side comparison.  Before and AfterIt’s amazing how much bigger and lighter our bathroom seems. I am so glad we were able to do this. We intentionally chose the white, gray and black colors so any linens can match. And now we just need to find bright colored towels and bathmats that will look best in this room.

My card catalog keeps getting better

It’s rare that a piece of furniture can excite me this much.  But my card catalog has really made organizing so many things so much better.

Card catalog

I thought that after I put the yarn and jewelry in it, it’d be a while until I found a use for all those empty drawers. But then the other day, I realized it’d be the perfect place for my nail polish.

card catalog nail polish storageIn the last month, I’ve accumulated a lot more nail polish because of a Christmas gift and also a great sale on Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure. I kept it all in a toiletry bag in the linen closet and when I went to polish my nails, which I try to do weekly, I’d dump the bag and pick through the colors.

But not anymore.  I can see it all clearly lined up. I just had to remove the inserts I made for the drawers so they fit and there is plenty room for more in those two drawers.

nail polish card catalog drawer

nail polish in card catalog

I still have plenty of empty drawers and I’ll keep thinking of ways to organize.  It’s really nice how something so simple can make me so happy.

Saturday Out in NEPA

Yesterday my friend Celeste and I had a wonderful day trip around Scranton and the Poconos.  The main purpose of our trip was to visit the Boden Outlet which opened at the end of 2011 in Pittston, PA.

Appropriately, the store is located in a former dress factory.

For an outlet, shopping was pretty easy with nothing too crammed together and most items organized by size. It was light and open and made it really easy to go through the racks.

There were plenty of colorful items to browse through including a good selection of kids clothing.

We planned for a Saturday because we thought it was only open one day a week from 10 am to 4 pm.  We talked with a sales rep who told us that besides also being open on Sundays from 12 pm to 4 pm, in August they will also open on Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm.  They get shipments once a week.  I got a blue linen tunic with colorful buttons and a necklace.  We’re already planning to go back in late fall.

After shopping, we headed to Old Forge to have Old Forge Pizza for lunch.

Celeste chose Revello’s. She grew up near by and it is the one of the many pizza restaurants that line the main street that they usually chose.

I’d never had Old Forge style pizza before. It’s square, has a crispy thick, but light, crust with a good sauce and creamy (sticks to your teeth) cheese.  A quick search online suggests it’s American or Fontina cheese.

During her campaign, Hilary Clinton stopped at Revello’s for a cut (what they call a slice).

After lunch we made a quick stop at DSW before heading to our final destination, Holly Ross Pottery in La Anna, PA.

We went across the swinging bridge before heading inside.

We both really wanted to get one of those ceramic Christmas trees with the little colored lights that get inserted into the holes in the pottery.  They always have them but neither of us have ever bought them before. Sadly, they said they lost their supplier.

Instead we browsed around before settling on a few other things. The best part of Holley Ross (in my opinion) is all the Fiestaware they have at reduced prices.

Most of it is seconds with very minor flaws.  I got a pitcher and two mugs and the flaws are so minor (for example a rough spot on one of the mug handles) that you’d never know they were there unless you looked for them.

They also carry a lot of other well-known collectible pottery and glass items and it’s just fun to look around.

After, we drove home.  It was probably about five hours in the car, but it was so nice to spend the time with Celeste and spend time in a different part of the state.  I think we always have a good time on our excursions and yesterday was perfect.

Knitted Reading Glasses Lanyard

On Friday afternoon, my parents arrived early so I took the afternoon off so we could walk around the People’s Choice Festival.

One of the things we tend to joke about when we’re walking around arts festivals is that we see something and say, “Oh, I could do that!” The reality is that while we could possibly do some of the things, we probably wouldn’t and that’s why we just buy stuff to support the artists.

But, one thing we saw was a lanyard type of thing to hold reading glasses that my mom thought would be perfect for work. It was made of some kind of novelty yarn and we thought it might have been crocheted. It wasn’t really her style or we would have bought that one. She wanted something more simple. Regardless, we were serious when we said that we really could make something like that and it turned out great.

Friday night we went through my leftover yarn and came up with a plan. We selected leftover yarn from my honey cowl. Here’s what you need to do what we did.

Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester DK (scrap amount)

Needle: 2 US 6 DPNs, F crochet hook

1 inch round, plastic stitch marker

Cast on 4 stitches to knit an i-cord. (I started it and my mom finished knitting it when it got to the length she desired, so that it would go to about the middle of her stomach.)

Once at the desired length, on next row: k1, k2tog, k1 (3 stitches remain)

Following row: k1, k2tog (2 stitches remain)

Last row: k2tog (1 stitch remains)

Slide that stitch off your needle and use it to begin a single crochet around the stitch marker so that it is tight and you can’t see any of the stitch marker. Use the crochet hook to secure the cast on end to the crocheted stitch marker and then weave in your ends.

It turned out great and took such a little bit of time. It was a great team effort.