Friday, April 28, 2017

LIttle Mitts

 I have been stocking up on little mittens for the nieces and nephew. Since it is hard to gauge how much they will grow over the summer, I am making a pair in every size! Eventually they will wear them!

It took a bit of looking, but I finally found the perfect pattern, Knits for Everybody Mittens by Knit Picks. A fingering weight mitten pattern in a wide range of children's sizes. (Adult sizes too!) The pattern is actually part of a book with sweater, hat and sock patterns. All the patterns come in a wide range of sizes and have worsted and fingering weight versions.

 I love knitting mittens! They are fast, use up scraps and are a fun way to experiment with colors. Especially since they are for kids. I am really going wild with the color combinations! At each color change, I knit four rows alternating the old color and the new color. I love how it turns out extra stripey!

 The sisters and I love making socks, which means we have quite a large stash of leftover bits and bobs. Hopefully, my mitten project with whittle it down a bit. 

Since I am making mittens for the nieces and nephew, I am trying not to make any of them extremely girly. Just bright and colorful! Here are my next three pairs all mapped out.
I might be getting slightly addicted to mitten making! It is just so fun matching up colors and seeing how each pair turns out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More Spring Flowers

 It feels like it is still Easter here with spring flowers in the house. I cut a few tulips this weekend  and had way too much fun taking photos of them!
Saturday was a glorious day. Warm and sunny, the perfect spring day. I spent it inside knee deep in my sewing closet, cleaning. It got a good shaking out. I am so excited it is getting a re-do, it was getting very un-manageable. There is still a bit to do, but I can't wait to share the improvements!

 All of these photos were taken on Saturday when I cut the flowers. They have faded since then, so I took another bunch of pictures yesterday morning.
These lovelies came with the house and are squeezed in on a few inches of dirt between the house and driveway. They end up getting a bit trampled, but never fail to spring back the following year better then ever. This year we might finally getting around to moving them to the cutting garden along the East side of the house and out from under our feet.

 These were taken yesterday. You can see they have faded and opened up a bit more. I think the more they fade, the brighter the yellow becomes!
I have no idea what type of tulip theses are. They have very small and glossy leaves and are rather miniature in size. Does anyone have a similar variety?
I love how the look like they are growing right out of my vintage hobnail vase!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter Friends!
I hope your Easter weekend was lovely. Mine was full of sunshine, daffodils, hot cross buns and insulation. Yes, we know how to celebrate holidays in my family. We plan work parties! So Saturday Mandy and I helped insulate our brother's house. This has been an ongoing project which we have been working on for about two weeks, so glad to finally be finished!

 We had daffodils for Easter! Actually, they were up last week and I was going to post about them, but the week flew by before I had a chance. Our Easter celebrations were last weekend on Palm Sunday as that is when all the family could get together. It was lovely and I was so happy to have daffys for both weekends!

 I finally got around to making Hot Cross Buns! Something that has been on my to-bake list for awhile. They were quite easy to make and scrumptious! The recipe is from my Great British Bake Off Cookbook, but here is a recipe from Mary Berry that is very similar. I really liked the piped on flour paste cross instead of the usual (American) icing cross. When I checked on the buns shortly after putting them in the oven I was sad to see the cross had soaked in and was barely visible. But the next time I checked, the buns were a lovely golden brown with a pale cross shining through!

 Oh the new leaves! Everyday there are trees with new leaflets. I am so enjoying laying in bed soaking up the green view!

 These beauties came with the little house. I usually prefer my daffodils yellow, but these have been especially lovely this year.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Apple Buckwheat Muffins

 Do you like buckwheat? It is a stronger flavored flour and is usually the overwhelming flavor in baked good. But oh, it makes fluffy muffins and pancakes!
I think it was sister Becky, that first introduced me to buckwheat via a vintage recipe for Buckwheat Griddlecakes (pancakes). Mandy and I love to make thick fluffy buckwheat pancakes, but we still haven't gotten the hang of getting them to not stick to the pan. Part of the problem is that we are also making them dairy free with water and coconut oil. Anyway, the house always ends up smelling like a greasy diner and burnt oil.
So, I thought buckwheat muffins would solve the problem nicely. A quick search online and nothing. Nothing that met my critia (dairy-free, but not gluten free and easy). I did a quick look through my vintage cookbook collection, nothing. A look through the "modern" cookbooks, nothing. I decided, fine, I will just add a bit of buckwheat to one of my favorite recipes. The first try was not good and I didn't get around to another go....

Then last week while looking for an oatmeal cookie recipe, I grabbed Mandy's Betty Crocker Country Cooking off the shelf and came across several lovely muffins recipes. Including Apple Buckwheat Muffins!
I was focused on oatmeal cookies at the moment. But after an unfortunate egg incident (Have you ever had an egg explode when you cracked it open?!?) in which I used up all the raisins, I thought muffins might sooth my nerves. Oh my! These are some of the best muffins! Soft, moist, flavorful, satisfying.....

 I am not really sure if I should be posting the recipe (It always seems like a gray area to me. Most recipes are variations, so should they really be copyrighted?), but it is too good not to share!

Apple Buckwheat Muffins (dairy-free version)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup apple juice or water
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 egg
1 large tart apple, grated

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, buckwheat flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in grated apple until well coated with flour mixture. Beat together egg, water or apple juice and coconut oil in a small bowl. Add to flour apple mixture, stir until just blended. Spoon into 18 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Tip muffins up on edge in pan to cool.
Maybe this is my recipe now that I have tweaked it a bit.(?) If you don't have/like coconut oil, I am sure another veggie oil will work fine too.

AS you can see, they didn't last long!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cozy Calico

Mom and I recently discovered the blog Posie Gets Cozy. (How have we missed her all these years?!?) We are so in love with her blog, her charming bungalow, cute as can be daughter and lovely quilts! Hours have been spent ohhing and ahhing. And before we knew it, inspiration was swirling around. So two weekends ago, the fabric was sorted, the sewing machine cleaned and threaded, the iron heated and a quilt was made.

Inspired by Alicia's calico comforter, we used an Ikea comforter instead of the usual cotton batting, tuffy floss ties instead of quilting stitches and simple 4.5" squares. From the fabric stash we pulled out all the reds, orange, blue, green, and browns (to match the living room) we could find.

Can you believe we had all these fabrics in the stash? Some had a copyright of 2000 stamped on the salvage...... It was so good to finally use them up!
The top went together fairly quickly. I was a little sad not to get it all finished by Sunday evening(couldn't wait to see how it would turn out!), but by Tuesday evening all the layers were sewn together and safety pinned. Though there are still tufts to be tied as we ran out of black embroidery floss.

 We are so happy with our new calico comforter, it has already become favorite. Kerri especially loves cuddling up in it. I love how nicely the colors go with the living room, even though to me it looks slightly reminiscent of the 1970s.