[quilting] House Block

The next quilt block that I wanted to make was a house. I spend a lot of time looking for a good combination based on the fabrics I have:

House block - finding the right fabrics

Once I like that, I cut:

House block - pieces cut

And then sew it all together and square it up:

House Block Complete

Hope to do another block this weekend...

I'm creating quite a pile of waste fabric and I might start sewing them randomly together to make crumb squares.


[cooking] Shepherd's Pi

For Pi Day (3.14), I made Shepherd's Pie:

Shepherd's Pi

This always feels like a labor intensive meal- and it's mostly the mashed potatoes' fault. Peel the potatoes, boil the potatoes, rice the potatoes... Okay, when I write it out it doesn't sounds so bad but... it is.

While the potatoes boil, I work on the meat- ground lamb browned, drained. Saute onion and garlic. Then add the meat back to the pan and add some other stuff (maybe a little tomato sauce, a few shakes of Worcester sauce, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper). Layer the meat into a casserole dish, then frozen corn (I don't even bother defrosting), then mashed potatoes. Then bake for 30 min.

Last night I evened out the mashed potato surface and piped the numbers on top as Dollar read them to me. The nozzle was a little narrow and the potatoes were a little thick- Dollar was watching me work and asked, "Should it be that difficult?" To which I replied, "IT'S MASHED POTATOES!" Next time I'll use a larger tip.

I wrote Pi out to 34 digits (hard to read, even after browning the top under the broiler for a few minutes). All the extra numbers made the pie more delicious:

Shepherd's Pi

And now leftovers for daaaaays.


[quilting] Country Charm - Done!

I dropped my finished quilt top at the quilter's in early Feb and just picked it up this past weekend:

Finished Quilt

I love it. I love love love love love it. One thing that I would have changed about the last quilt that I had professionally quilted is that the pattern was too large. (Having said that, I still love that quilt and have used it every day.) This time I specified that I wanted a tighter "all-over" design.

Finished Quilt

I'm glad I went with the brown border- I love how the quilt design stands out.

The backing (and binding) fabric is so nice:

Finished Quilt

The owner of Hen House Fabric in White River Junction picked it out and I immediately said yes. It's a sweet design and the leaves are red, blue and brown- all of which are the main colors used for the top. So perfect. She has such a good eye. 

Anyway, I brought the quilt home and had the audacity to put it on Santana's bed for pictures:

Finished Quilt

She obviously thinks this quilt is for her. I told her it wasn't.

Finished Quilt

It might get submitted to the fair this fall. It will prob get gifted at Christmas time. Either way, it's folded up and put away so it doesn't get covered in cat fur. 

Finished Quilt

Santana has vowed to find it.


[crochet] Spirit Mandalas

I wanted a quick project for leftover bits of yarn. I came across this Spirit Mandala pattern on Ravelry and thought it was a good match because (a) I have scraps of sock yarns, and (b) I have metal rings. The first one I made:

Crocheted mandala over a wire ring. #crochet #crochetmandala

Ooooo, so easy and quick. Kind of a lot of ends to sew in (which you should take care of before you permanently attach it to a ring with the last round of crocheting) but worth it.

I did another with some longer bits of gradient sock yarns:

Mandala no.2, this time with gradient leftover sock yarns (yay fewer ends to weave in). #crochet #crochetmandala #spiritmandala

Fewer ends to sew in because I let the colors transition over more rounds... but still nice.

The last one:

Mandala #3

This is my favorite.

These are small(ish), probably only 7 or 8 inches in diameter. While technically they are "stash busting" projects in that I used yarn from the stash, it ended up being VERY small amounts of yarn. No real dent to the stash but... I have three new pretty wall decorations.


[knitting] Totally Biased Nebula

Finished the Totally Biased cowl in striping sock yarn:

Totally Biased

Yarn: Berroco Nebula, one ball (Purchased at Sin City Yarn shop in Las Vegas!)

Needles: US 4

Notes: Cast on 60 stitches

My kitchener join between the blue and brown yarn is spot on:

Totally Biased

Blocked around a large cardboard box.

Totally Biased

Love how this turned out. Perfect width (after blocking) and circumference. I should have this pattern in a pair of needles all the time. I don't even stress about the purl ridges if I forget to do it until I'm halfway down the row- I just remember to do it the next time- I like the irregularity of the purl ridges then (and I'm not wasting time tinking back).

I'm going to dig in the stash and pile up "Yarn for Totally Biased Cowls" so I always have some ready to go.


[cooking] Ugly Delicious

Last weekend I watched all the episodes of David Chang's new Netflix show: Ugly Delicious. It put me in the mood to cook and I did a pot of braised Asian beef with cabbage over rice:

Braised beef and cabbage. Simmering liquid was purΓ©ed ginger, garlic, onion, blood orange juice, Chinese hot chili sauce, soy sauce. Watching #uglydelicious is putting me in the mood to cook.

I pureed some onion, orange juice, garlic, ginger, Chinese chili pepper sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil in a mini food processor. I browned the meat in a dutch oven and then simmered it in the puree for a couple hours. Added sliced cabbage and simmer around 20 min. Serve over rice, garnish with scallions. Easy, low effort, delicious- my favorite cooking combination.

What I really wanted to make was some fried chicken that I saw in one of the episodes. Chef Asha Gomez made Kerala Fried Chicken and based on the reactions of the guys who ate it, I was like, "No way it can be that good. No. Way." So I made it.

Kerala fried chicken. Saw Asha Gomez make it on #uglydelicious. Beyoooooond tasty. #keralafriedchicken finished with a drizzle of coconut oil and garam masala salt.

Yeah. It's pretty freaking good. Mint and cilantro in the buttermilk and garlic marinade? I was apprehensive but it worked. I did the drizzle of melted coconut oil and a sprinkle of garam masala salt to finish (the garam masala salt isn't in the recipe but I seem to remember her doing it in the episode). The only disappointing thing is that my chicken had no heat. I wasn't able to find 6 serrano peppers so I used 6 seeded jalapenos. Zero spiciness. Next time I'll strive harder to find the serranos or use 12 jalapenos and leave the seeds in. And then I think I would classify this as the perfect fried chicken.


[crochet] Ewok

Finished a little crocheted Ewok:

Finally finished that thing that I said I was going to finish. Ewok. 🌲🐻🌲Need to find a wire brush to make him fuzzy. #crochet #amigurumi #ewok #starwars

Pattern is free on Rav: Wicket the Ewok

So cuuuute. The mouth was a little, ah, difficult to stitch. Arms are a bit too long- would make them shorter next time. The hood totally makes it, though. Good use of scrap and leftover yarn. If I could find my wire slicker pet brush, I would brusha-brush him to make him super fuzzy. Gifted to Dollar, who absolutely loves it.


[spinning] Golden yarn

Spun some yarn last week, as part of the Ravellenic Games:

Spinning fiber

I bought this fiber at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival last fall (can't remember the vendor). It was two pieces of sliver- golden brown yellow and the other was very similar but had a bit of an overall green color. I spun them separately. Here's the gold:

Spinning yarn

Santana performs some QA/QC of the spinning:


After plying/washing:

Hand spun yarn complete! πŸŒžπŸŒ»πŸ’«πŸ’›πŸŒ…πŸΊπŸ―πŸ±πŸ‘‘ #spinning

Love it. Loveit loveit loveit. Overall a light-worsted weight yarn.

Handspun Yarn

I have such a collection of handspun yarn- I need to find patterns on Ravelry. 


[quilting] Dog block

Still working on quilting, trying to do a block here and there when I have time:

Next quilt block... what’s it going to be? #quilting

I found a pretty cute block for a dog. Cut all the pieces and...

🐢 @jenmac1818 It’s Tash! #quilting

It's so cute! A rather accurate representation of my friend's dog for her quilt- two different colored eyes and everything.

I think I'm going to switch to some more traditional designs. 


[cooking] Shrimp Dumplings

I've had dumplings on my to-do list since the Chinese new year last Friday. I picked up some wraps at H-mart and decided to make them for dinner *gasp* mid-week. 

For the filling, I thawed some frozen shrimp and put it into the food processor with scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and a dab of hot Chinese chili sauce.

Shrimp dumplings

A few pulses later:

Shrimp dumplings

So, the filling only took a few seconds. Then I wrapped the dumplings while watching Olympic hockey:

Shrimp dumplings

My wrapping game is literally one trick- those pleats. Some day I'll try other techniques and styles but the pleats look traditional and it works with steaming them upright or pan frying them flat. And I can do it fast.

Steam in the double-level bamboo steamer for 10 min and voila:

Shrimp dumplings>

Served with all the little Korean banchan:

Shrimp dumplings

All in all, probably only 30 minutes from start to finish. The greatest time saver was that it was a relatively small amount of filling and made about 20 dumplings. Generally when I make eggrolls or dumplings, I have a gigantic bowl of filling that will make 4,000 dumplings. Good for a party but labor intensive for a weeknight meal for two. 

Added bonus: this totally fulfilled my craving for pasta. 


[knitting] Little blue pouch

I used some yarn leftovers to knit a little square bag- with the intention of adding a lining and zipper (since I know how to do that now). But of course the bag sat around for ages, ends not even sewn in. Finally I blocked it and got all the accouterments together:

Lining a knit pouch

Since I'm doing so much sewing, I cut some blue fabric and sewed a lining. I shortened a zipper. (I love my little pincusion biscornu- I should make more. They are so adorbs and useful.)

Pin in the lining (ehhhh, it's a little too big):

Lining pinned

Sew it in (ehhh, it's a little wonky because it was too big):

Lining sewn

Pin in the zipper (oh look, it covers the wonkiness of the lining):

Zipper pinned

Sew that in and voila, zippered and lined pouch:


Knit pouch with zipper and lining

After I got all the stuff together, it only took about 30 minutes to do since the project was so small.


[crochet] Cacti

I've been making little cacti with leftover green yarns:

🌡🌡🌡🌡 #crochet #amigurumi

The pattern is called


[quilting] Sailboat

Accomplished so many fun and crafty things over the long weekend. Friday afternoon I spent on a quilt block:

⛵️🍺 #quilting #zerogravitybeer

Yeah, that's a beer in there, too. Because it was beer o'clock. 

The finished sailboat:

Sailboat quilt block. ⛵️ I cut up the entire piece if fabric to get the skeleton situated right. #worthit #quilting

I basically had to massacre the entire piece of skeleton fabric to get a square just right for the sail but it was worth it.

I've decided I'm just going to do whatever quilt blocks I find and like and I'll worry about how they all fit together later... 

I bought a bolt of inexpensive (coughcheapcough) 100% cotton grey fabric at Joann's. I plan to use a bit here and there as a solid color. As I was working on this block and pressing pieces (with steam- I know I'm not supposed to but I'm glad I did) the grey was shrinking like crazy. Alarmingly so. Enough to make me freak out. I frantically started Googling what to do- and the answer was so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it: prewash the fabric. Duuuuuuhhhhh. (slaps forehead). So I washed/dried some and I'll iron it to see if it still shrinks. 


[cooking] Valentine's Day

Got all the cats to agree to Valentine's Day pictures.







Dinner was pizza (with turkey pepperoni because we eat sooooo healthy):


And dessert- heart shaped brownie with whipped cream and red glitter:

Valentine Brownie

I had to stop by King Arthur Flour for a few things earlier in the week and couldn't resister the edible glitter. Now I need to glitter all the foods since I only used .0001 grams last night.


[cooking] Yukgaejang: Spicy Beef Soup

With the winter Olympics in South Korea this year, my Olympics-watching menu has been non-stop Korean food. It's easy when I can just stop by my mom's for kimchi (ugh, I just want to rub it all over my face), marinaded bulgogi meat and yukgaejang.

Food for the Olympics- my mom’s spicy beef #yukgaejang. May not be the prettiest but I’m okay with #uglydelicious. 🍲

Yukgaejang is a spicy beef soup and this one is loaded with vegetables: Tuscan kale, leeks, scallions, bean sprouts, dikon radish, mushrooms. I wasn't sure about posting the picture because it's not the prettiest... But after watching chef David Chang cover some of the food in Korea for NBC and checking out his Instagram, I learned that he has a new Netflix show coming later this month: Ugly Delicious. My go-to cooking/travel program is always Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain (mostly because he's an excellent writer/narrator) but I think Ugly Delicious might be just as good.

Happy Valentine's Day. Not sure what's on the menu for tonight but it's all probably going to be heart-shaped. 


[knitting] Nilas #2

I did a a bunch of aran caps for Dollar's band for Christmas. The recipient of the top right hat said her friend loves this hat and wanted one exactly the same. EXACTLY the same. So I made another:

Another Nilas hat. First #ravellenicgames2018 project. #hathalfpipe #teamcatitude2018 #knitting

While this one isn't exactly the same (I think this one has a shorter brim and is a half-pattern longer), it's close enough. I did it over a couple days and it is my first Ravellenic Games project for the Hat Halfpipe event. Go Team Catitude!

In the meantime, I'm still working on Fox Paws.


[misc] Santana Monday

Brought Santana to the vet on Saturday morning for her annual exam, shots, blood work.

Santana at the vet

She handles it pretty well. We're bringing Penny down this coming Saturday, which is definitely a two person job. Penny does not travel well.

Had quite a productive weekend. Brought my quilt stuff up to Fairlee to be finished. Cooked some good foods. Watched a lot of Olympics. Did house chores. Started a hat for the Ravellenic Games.


[misc] TGIF

Cat grass brings all the cats to the kitchen:

Cat grass brings everyone to the kitchen 🌱🌱🌱🐯🐱🌱🌱🌱

So happy it's Friday! (This week has been brutal.) Dropping my quilt off after work! Heading home to watch the Olympics! Going to cuddle with the cats and couch surf!