Friday, June 27, 2014

Clue 2 of the Dark Pearl Sweater

I was able to finish the second clue of the dark pearl sweater and it concluded with the finishing of the body of the sweater.
I assume the next clue will include the pick up of the lace panel on the right front side or it could be the sleeves.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Knitted Lace Sampler Shrug

This project has been languishing since August 2008 when I started it after watching this episode of Knitty Gritty.  I used a bulky weight alpaca that I bought when I first started knitting.

The knitting went well but at the time, I did not know how to mattress stitch or crochet so I never finished the shrug.  I found this project after I made out my list of works in progress so it was a surprise entry.

Now that I know how to crochet as well as seam, I was able to finish it.
Another bed shrug for the winter months.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Almond Sponge Cake

I decided to provide the recipe for the almond sponge cake that is a winner at every event I have ever taken it to.

It is a light dessert that you can eat plain or dress with fruit or filling.

8 eggs (fresh is best and at room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oil (vegetable)
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water (room temperature)
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or any other flavor you wish)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar


Stand mixer (Kitchenmaid with two bowls and a beater and a whisk attachment)
Tube pan
Measuring implements

Separate eggs into two mixing bowls.  Add sugar and oil to the yolks.  Beat yolk mixture for 5 minutes.   Add water gradually beating at low speed until all the water is used.  Beat on high speed for 7 minutes.  Add extract.  Sift cake flour and baking powder in a separate bowl then gradually add flour mixture to yolk mixture, beating at low to medium speed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Switch bowls and add cream of tartar to whites and beat for 5 minutes at high speed until meringue is stiff using the whisk attachment.

Flatten air bubbles from yolk mixture and fold into the meringue until well mixed.  The batter should be light but not running.  Pour into tube pan and bake for 1 hour.
Take the pan out of the oven and invert for 2 hours.  If your pan does not have feet, place tube on a bottle.  Using a knife, separate the sides of the cake from the pan and pop the cake with the bottom out.  Separate the bottom of the cake from the pan.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Autumn Whispers Sweater Finished

I started to tackle my works in progress again and am happy to report another sweater is off the needles.  This is the autumn whispers by Carol Feller.

I used Baah! La Jolla yarn in the peacock color and it turned out really nice.  I especially like the way the shoulder is worked and it is a good fit.
I did add some extra rows to the faux button band to have a bit more coverage, but it is super comfy.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A New Purse

I got a new purse in the mail from Val in fabrics and colors that I had picked out when I visited earlier this year.

It is the perfect size with lots of pockets.
Front view with zippered pocket.
Back view and the strap is wide.
Very nice bag for the summer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bone Soup

I was shown a recipe to make to help rebuild bone and cartilage by my acupuncturist - Eileen Han.

She has done an excellent job with my lingering-for-years cough and I think she has it finally licked.  I was told by my dentist that I had weak gum tissue and I needed to have gum grafting.  After discussing it with a specialist and hearing that it might not take due to thin tissue, I asked Eileen about it.

She recommended that I try the bone soup for a few months to see if it would make a difference.  Full service is what I got.  First she took me to 99 Ranch Market to buy some pork bones.  Made sure to have them cut the bones into smaller pieces.  Once we got home, she showed me how to prepare the bones and make the soup.

After the first batch, I went out to buy some more bones and attempt the bone preparation and soup myself.

I went to SF Supermarket to buy some pork soup bones as 99 Ranch did not have any in stock.  It was cheaper at SF Supermarket.
I got three pieces and had them cut the bones up for me which resulted in 18 pieces.
Then it all went into a pot of water at a very low simmer (no boiling) to release the blood and lymph.  My stove has settings from 1 to 10 and I had it at 1.
After about 90 minutes, the pot looked like this.
After rinsing under running water, the bones are placed on a baking dish (lined with foil).
I washed the pot and filled it with water with 3 stalks of green onions and cut and smashed ginger and heated to a low simmer.
After 30 minutes at in the oven at 385 degrees, the bones were done.  I then rinsed the bones under running water.
I then placed three pieces in the pot of warming water and heated to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes then simmered for 4 to 6 hours.  
The broth stayed clear but I skimmed off the small layer of fat.
I placed the remaining pieces in a plastic container for the freezer for my next pots of bone soup.

I drink two cups per day and just reheat the pot as I go.  When I need to use the pot, I transfer the soup into mason jars.  The soup is gone with 5 days.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Real Chicken Dinner

I have a confession - I really like fried chicken.  However, it doesn't like me so much so I have it seldom.  I recently happened upon a recipe called "Better than Fried Chicken" that I had to try out.  The recipe comes from here.

It originally calls for wings, but I had some chicken thighs with skins in the freezer that I thawed out to see if it is really better.

I have never laid out chicken in the fridge overnight uncovered, but I followed the directions and baked it the next day in the oven using the convection.

15 minutes each side and then another 10 minutes with the skin side up after basting with the sauce.  I have to say, it is almost the same as real fried chicken.  The skin was extra crispy, but you really need to eat it right after it comes out of the oven.
I did substitute regular soy for the coconut aminos and it was tasty!  This recipe will definitely be the rotation again.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was a prize winner for the Jenkins Batty Challenge I undertook last month.  Since I usually never win contests, it was unexpected to be contacted that I won a prize.

I still haven't decided what to knit with my finished skein, but now I have new fiber to try out.  It is very colorful and I might try to spin it on a Jenkins during the Tour de Fleece.
It came with 4 stitch markers as well in bunnies and I think ducks.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DIY Shabu Shabu

I broke down under pressure and geared up for at home shabu shabu.  I purchased two pots as well as a burner unit.
I then amassed my ingredients - thinly sliced lamb and beef as well as fish and shrimp balls.
I also had a plate of shitake and enoki mushrooms, wood ears, tofu, and napa cabbage.
And some watercress.
My sauce bowl consisted of ponzu, soy, some satay, and garlic, cilantro, and jalapeños.
Very good but way too much food for one meal.  The watercress was a bit old and  the stalks were too chevy, but added good flavor.  The broth was not quite a flavorful as I like.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DIY Sewing Pattern Weights

While spending the day in Susan's sweatshop making dresses, I noted that she had these cool noodles weights to hold the pattern paper down while cutting on a board with a rotary cutter.

In the way back, I remember my mom making clothes with tissue thin patterns and pinning everything before tackling the cutting with scissors.

I thought this was an ingenious way to save time and went to the inter webs to search them out.  Sad to say, my google-fu was a failure and I think the weights Susan has are called wiggle weights but an error came back when I tried to find them.

I then happened upon this blog that gave instructions on how to make your own.  I stopped by the local hardware store and bought these 1" washers.
I then dug through my cupboards looking for ribbon that I have stashed and came up with these.
A bit a glue and some wrapping and I now have 8 pretty sewing pattern weights ready to use.  A successful DIY for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

American Snowflake Scarf

After receiving the May/June 2014 issue of Handwoven, I perused the magazine and read some interesting articles.  One highlight was a discussion about the Santa Fe International Fold Art Market which I am attending this year.

It sounded very exciting and I can wait to see what is there.

Also in the magazine was this pattern for the American Snowflake Scarf.
It is so cool and I have looms so I must weave.  I selected a couple of colors - really red, a variegated green/blue, and a mushroom for two separate scarves from Webs.
Now to get warping.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Eggplant Caviar

Another recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo app is Eggplant Caviar.  I substituted Japanese eggplants (4 small ones) for the large purple one called for in the recipe.  I also used the special olive oil and balsamic from the Glendale Galleria and added some red pepper flakes.

I'm not a big fan of eggplant, but I have to say this was pretty delicious.
I had this as topping for some stone ground crackers which is a no no for a paleo diet, but a very tasty snack.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bakery Bear

I have never knit a toy or a so called stuffy before.  So I was intrigued when I caught up on my podcasts and saw that knitabulls talked about a bear pattern from a designer in the UK.  Kay Jones had knit bears for her daughter as well as friends as gifts and decided to release the pattern for her cute bear.

She named it Mrs. Bakery Bear and Diane is having a knit-a-long to make these bears.  By the way, Mr. Bakery Bear is still in the kitchen not quite ready for prime time.
Jones and her husband also started a video podcast that I started watching as well.

I dug up some dark brown Cascade 220 for the bear body and will need to pick through my stash to see if I have some cool colors for the dress and shoes.  Hopefully my first attempt at a stuffy will not be crazy funky.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Clue 1 of the Dark Pearl Sweater

The knit-a-long that I succumbed to here arrived on June 1.  Clue 1 was released and I was daring enough to not knit a gauge swatch which I hope will not come back and bite me in the you know where.

I decided to make the size a bit larger than I normally would choose since there is an add on lace panel and my bust size was a bit closer to the smaller size.  Also I wanted to err on the safe size and taking into account my huge arms.

The yarn still has a vinegar smell but it is not so bad as I kept the yarn in my knitting bag and pulled out the purse hook to hang the bag off the end of the table as I was knitting.

Here is the finish yoke from the first clue.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Colorful Carwash

After a month of travel, my car was super dirty from sitting out under the lines where tons of birds hang out.

I did a quick gas station car wash up the street, and it was surprising to see how colorful the soap phase was.
Here is a larger view.
The car and I came out smelling pretty sweet.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Box o' Socks

JoAnne's was having a sale and I could not resist some sock yarn. I saw someone at knit group knitting a pair from this brand and loved the striping sequence.

To qualify for the free shipping - I ended up with a box o'socks.  Now to get knitting.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Caveman Diet

In one of the multitude of conversations during the sewing sweatshop, the Paleo diet was an interesting topic.  I came home and did some research and it seems that it is a throwback to what the cave people ate - whole foods, slow foods, unprocessed foods, natural sweeteners, etc.

Susan had a cook book called Nom Nom Paleo so I checked it out.  I found that the author and her husband are from the Bay Area and she has a great iPad app with awesome photos and step-by-step instructions.

There is also some background information and pretty much what you need to know about eating paleo.

I decided to try the Crab & Avocado Temaki and even made the paleo mayo recipe.
The crab mixture started with this.
And a little spice.
After some cucumber slices as well as some avocado plus some pea sprouts.
A bit of wrapping - I had to try multiple times to get it right.
Lunch - very tasty.  You really have to wrap and eat to prevent the chewiness of the nori when damp.
Not sure that I will be a convert, but am willing to try some recipes and see.