Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Recipe Resolution

After a weak August performance (see moving and cleaning and painting for excuses), I am back in the game! My resolution is 3/4 of the way complete and I am still going strong. I've really enjoyed all of the new foods I have eaten and I feel like it is improving my cooking skills, too. We've already repeated some of the recipes we tried as part of the recipe resolution.

Here are the recipes I tried in September:

Dill Gazpacho

Eggplant Parmesan

Curried Apple and Leek Soup
(Next time I will put less curry in it. It was a bit spicy for my wimpy taste buds.)

Basmati and Wild Rice over Acorn Squash with Braised Vegetables (Vegetarian Times - October 2008)

Pumpkin Whipped Cream (Vegetarian Times - October 2008)

These last two recipes were made as part of a dinner we shared with Mark and Jerri last night:

Zoe worked out in her Bumbo while we ate appetizers. She is one strong baby!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that a post I wrote almost a year ago would become interesting again. How do I know people are interested in it? I've gotten a few comments, a few emails, and some Ravelry love, but mostly I got clued in because of this and this. Also, the day before yesterday my blog had about 45 hits and then yesterday it jumped to over 1100. Yikes! Y'all like your Mega Man.

Many of the commenters have mentioned that they would buy a hat. I'm flattered, but in the spirit of DIY, let me elaborate a little on how it was made, so you too can knit your own Mega Man Helmet.

In the original post, I said:
I used the Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap pattern as the basis for the hat and then added the point on the front and the contrasting pieces on the ears and across the top. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Blue Boy and Spruce.

To make your own hat:

Knit Aviator cap using the pattern linked above
  • I used size 6 needles, but I tend to go down a needle size or two for everything I knit.
Make forehead peak
  • PU sts across the forehead (I picked up approximately 16-18 sts)
  • knit these sts in garter stitch while also decreasing (k2tog) at the beginning and end of each row
  • when you have 2sts left: k2tog, cut yarn and pull through rem st
Make top piece*
  • CO 20 sts
  • knit in stockinette stitch for 9 inches
  • fold in half lengthwise and attach** to hat using your choice of stitching. folding it in half gives the strip a raised look without having to use stuffing.
If you really want to be fancy pants, you can knit this in the round to make a little tube. That might have been what I did (I freestyled it and made this a year ago, so I am reaching way back in my memory here to recreate these steps), but it would work by knitting it flat too.

Make ear pieces
  • co 3 sts using dpns. you are knitting this part in the round.
  • kfb into each stitch to make 6 sts
  • continue increasing at 6 points until it measures about 3-1/2 inches in diameter
  • BO
  • follow steps to make a second one
  • attach** them to the hat
  • weave in all ends
* The real Mega Man Helmet has two top pieces but Paul and I determined it would look goofy with two, so we deviated from the original a bit.
**It might be helpful to pin your pieces into place before attaching them. It took a little bit of fussing to position them correctly.

Paul and I would love it if you posted links to photos of your version.

Have fun!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fun Friday

What can you do if you don't have a job and you've already sent out a bunch of resumes and cover letters this week? You can have a Friday of fun to forget about all that yucky job searching stuff.

Fun Friday started out with a trip back in time to my old neighborhood. Jamie and I went to most of elementary and middle school together and during that time we lived in the same neighborhood. Charleen (Jamie's mom) provided my home away from home, as Jamie and I used to alternate houses for sleepovers and hanging out on a very regular, almost constant basis. I liked Jamie's family because they went to Minneapolis to do things and Jamie liked my family because we allowed junk food in the house...mmmm, spaghettios.

We gathered at Charleen's house to make Cranapple Butter. It was easy to make especially with 3 contributing cooks. We peeled and chopped and stirred and smashed until we had a nice pot of goo to can.

After the day of cooking, Paul and I headed over to Genevieve's house to have a potluck dinner and watch the debate.

Clockwise from back left: Mark, Zoe, Paul, Jerri, Genevieve, Joey

Charleen sent along some herbs from her yard, so I was able to spread the wealth amongst the debate watchin' crew.

When we got home we ended up chatting with our neighbors for a while. While we were in their apartment Jack decided to fix himself a little snack in our apartment. He had eaten a good chunk of the roll by the time we got back.

Now you know why he is usually in a crate when we are gone!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seth Kantner - Talk of the Stacks

I have been sorely lacking in reading material and am eager to get some good books. I have also been wanting to check out the new Minneapolis Central Library building. When I lived here in the past I worked near the library and had occasion to go there for work purposes. I spent many many hours in the original building and in the temporary building, neither of which were that spectacular. When I looked at the website and saw that they were hosting an interesting author, I decided to venture on over, get a library card and listen to Seth's talk.

"Kantner is an award-winning writer, photographer, trapper, fisherman, mechanic and igloo-builder who lives in Alaska. His newest work, Shopping for Porcupines, provides a vivid look at America’s last frontier through a series of moving essays and vivid photographs." (taken from library website)

Kantner's way of life seems to be an extreme version of living in MN in regards to weather: tough winters and buggy summers. The extremes in MN are extreme enough for me. I can't imagine being content in an even more extreme climate and having to deal with the crazy light phenomenon that happens in Alaska. In addition to sharing some of his essays, he also showed photographs of the people, terrain and animals of Alaska. Props to him for writing about his home. It was great to get a glimpse of an other worldly way of life.

Although it probably wasn't the wisest of decisions, I walked the 4 mile round trip to the library. It was a great walk on the way there, but felt a little uncomfortable after dark. I did get to marvel at the great view of downtown from the pedestrian bridge near our house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sewing + Me = Procrastination

I got the bedroom curtains sewn up all speedy-like since bedroom privacy is of utmost priority. The other ones are much lower on the list of priorities. I finished the closet curtain and started the dining room curtain, but have since been very neglectful. I blame it on Fanny. If she isn't sitting in the window, she is probably sitting in my sewing chair.

Besides, who really needs curtains, anyway?! The dogs are happy without them for curtainless windows provide all the more sunshine to nap in.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that brussel sprouts grow like this? I have country/farm girl roots and I didn't know they grew like this until we got a share of them from our CSA a few years ago. They are a quirky little vegetable.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

But, Why?

I've recently come across a few things that struck my "huh?" bone.

The Boston Fire Department putting out a parking lot.

The Fun Bus has lots of rules.

Buses do not stop at the bus stop.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Fanny totally adores the windows in our new apartment. She has found the bedroom windows to be especially interesting. There are a few squirrels that frequent the tree outside of the bedroom. I often wake up to her talking to the squirrels and them talking back to her. The meow she uses for the squirrels is unlike her regular meow. The other evening one very brave squirrel came right up the window and stared me down. I think he might have been asking if Fanny could come out to play.

When choosing fabric for the bedroom curtains, we took into consideration the fact that her fur will likely end up all over them. We figured the best choice was to match her.

I can sit for hours and knit without needing to step away from it. In settling into this apartment, I discovered that I am an antsy person when it comes to painting and sewing. The focus that I feel when knitting doesn't transfer to other activities. When sewing or painting, I tend to work a little at it, then step away for a while to do something else and then come back to it again. It took me an evening and a morning to make the three bedroom curtains, which is probably way too much time as these were exceptionally easy to make. Remaining on my To Do List are 5 living room curtains which will each be 2 panelled, 1 dining room curtain and a closet curtain. My little Shark sewing machine is going to be busy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not Bad

I had the chance to go to my dad's house in Wisconsin for an overnight trip earlier this week. The morning I was there, I enjoyed a walk around the garden with my dad, sipping on tea and snacking on freshly picked raspberries. Not a bad way to start the day, at all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Last in the Sylvie F.O. Parade is the Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch 'n Bitch. Jamie has been coveting this pattern for years so there was no question in my mind what baby blanket I was knitting for her. I substituted the recommended Koigu yarn for Tahki Yarns Chat, which is a cotton tape yarn.

The pattern was simple and fun to knit. I knit a big portion of the blanket on this trip.

This photo depicts the colors most accurately:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mossy Sweater

Next up on the F.O. list is the Mossy Jacket. This is the photo that is truest to the actual color:

The yarn is Classic Elite - Beatrice.

It was a challenge to find the right buttons for this sweater. The staff person at Windsor Button was very helpful and together we decided on these:

In making this sweater I learned that babies are pretty disproportionate. This sweater is short and wide. From what hear, so are babies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Girly Booties

I've been saving up my knitted Sylvie gifts so that I could give them to the parents and the new baby in person. Over the next few days I'm going to post some finished photos. First off, are another pair of Saartje's Booties. This yarn was leftover from my eloping/honeymoon knitting project. It is Atacama by Araucania Yarns.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nice Surprises

This weekend brought a few nice surprises. For one, my mom showed up on Saturday morning with this bouquet! I love getting flowers and these were extra special since they were picked from her yard. We spent the day going to garden stores in search of the just the right plants for my apartment. It was a successful shopping day and now the apartment has some good plant life in it.

After the day of shopping, I checked the mail and found this awesome surprise:

Susan and Erin of Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm sent a condolence package with a nice note and some MVFF yarn! I mentioned before how the moths got into my stash and I was most worried about the MVFF yarn and a few other skeins from small farms. It was so nice of them to send these skeins. They definitely helped to cheer me up! If I haven't said so enough before, Susan (and Erin) of Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm is doing amazing things and she deserves as much support as she can get to continue her successful venture. If you haven't checked them out yet, you totally should. Here is a link to the blog and a link to the etsy store. Thank you, Susan and Erin!

On Friday evening, I got to see friends Sally, Mark and Jerri of Stella for Star perform. My camera hates dim lighting so I only got this one barely passable picture. It was fun to see them and the other 3 band members perform.

And, one last picture from the weekend. The Midtown Public Market was home to some "regular" and "big" cabbage this weekend. The "big" one was larger than a basketball!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Settling In

We are so not in Boston anymore!

We are getting pretty settled in to the apartment. There are lots of little things that need to be customized/installed/hung so we have been hitting up many local stores to acquire the necessities.

Yesterday we went to Fleet Farm (site of the above photo) and SR Harris. SR Harris is awesome for fabric. It is a huge warehouse and everything in it is 50%. We got 33 yards of fabric for $80. We needed 33 yards of fabric to make curtains. That's right. We have so many giganto windows that it will take that many yards to give us some privacy and that doesn't even count the kitchen. We already have a curtain from our old place to hang there. With all of these windows, we definitely need some plant action up in here. My mom is coming over today to remedy the lack of plantness.

After all that shopping, we needed a good meal to refuel. This lunch included the following contributions:
fresh mozzarella and grapes from my mother in-law Joanne
heirloom tomatoes grown by my dad
green beans from my friend Jamie's garden
fresh, homemade pesto with basil grown by Jamie's mom Charleen and made by Jamie and Charleen

Are we spoiled or what?!

Lastly, here is a shot of Paul with his new love interest...my dad's cordless Makita drill. They are inseparable these days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dead, I think.

When Jamie was over, I braved taking my yarn out of the freezer. I found a few of these little buggers. I am hoping they are all dead. I squished the ones I found, just to make really really sure that they aren't going to come back to life.

Without winding the skeins, it looks to me like most of the yarn survived the moth ordeal. The fingering weight alpaca from New Mexico looks the worst off with at least a handful of broken parts. From the inspection that Jamie and I did, it seems that the MVFF yarn didn't have any parts that were totally eaten through.

I sure am glad that I caught the problem when I did. I threw away a basket and all of the yarn in it because it was the most heavily covered yarn. The basket was at the bottom of the box, which could explain why the yarn on top was only slightly harmed. Phew!

I am still keeping it in plastic bags for a while just in case something does rise from the dead. I am not taking any risks.

Oh, and I checked the sweaters. They are totally fine. I had most of them packed away for the summer, so I don't think the moths knew they were there.

Baby Day

Yesterday was Baby Day. Jamie and baby Sylvie came over for lunch and some girl time. I finally got to give them some of the knitted gifts I made long long ago. Here Sylvie is chilling out on her Big Bad Baby Blanket. (I'll post more F.O. pictures soon).

The pets aren't used to babies in their house. Fanny and Jack both had to have a smell. Sylvie must have passed muster because they were pretty much over it after the smell fest.

After Jamie and Sylvie went home to spend some time with visiting relatives, I headed over to visit Jerri and baby Zoe.

The weather cleared up in time for Joey to join us for a walk. Minneapolis definitely has some beautiful areas to walk around. Jerri knew a good route that took us past some nice houses, Lake Harriet (right, Jerri?) and down the Greenway past some awesome community gardens. Jerri and Zoe are pros at the walking thing. They logs multiple miles a day.

Joey is also fresh to Minneapolis. Although since he is not from here, his adjustment is a little more profound than mine. He relocated from NYC, so we compared notes on the culture shock of moving from the keep-t0-yourself east coast to the friendly midwest. We are both learning how to say hi to strangers.

To top off the day, I went to my first MN knitting group. The group that meets at Common Roots Cafe was having the last of their ice cream knitting nights. It was nice to be out of the apartment and to be knitting again! I'm excited for next time because I have heard good things about Common Roots.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tons of Tomatoes

Thanks to my in-laws Joanne and Clarence and my dad, I have an abundance of homegrown tomatoes. They are quickly ripening, so I had to think of a good way to use a bunch of them. Gazpacho!

I followed this recipe but changed a few things. I didn't use a jalapeno or fresh dill. I substituted dried dill, a few cloves of garlic and a banana pepper.

More importantly, making this recipe is indicative of the fact that I now have a functioning kitchen! I've missed cooking during these past few weeks. No more truck stop food for me!
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