Troll Houses ATC’s

as always, click to biggify 

Just a short post, I wanted to share my Sept ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) this month, because I’m quite pleased with how these turned out.

I’ve been making ATC’s for over four years now, and I’m always surprised what we all come up with for each month’s theme.
How everyone interprets that, what media they use, its always a nice surprise to receive in them mail.

Troll Houses are something I would never have tried out on my own, which is why belonging to a group like this is a good thing, it stretches one’s artistic skills.

My ATC group is on Ravelry as ATC Swap, feel free to look us up and join in the fun.

There is also an active International group on Yahoo Groups too.

Second Yarns

From this: 

To this:

To this: 

I’m happier with my second attempt, although obviously I still need to learn more and practice lots.  I’m already spinning my third and fourth yarns, so I’m getting the practice in.  Stay tuned for more.

Making Cards is all I do

Well, lately, making cards is all I do, for weeks now designing, making, writing in and filling out the addresses to stacks and stacks of all handmade Christmas cards. I will probably live to regret this…however I love creating things and am enjoying the process.

I subscribe to a few newsletters and one of them is for papercrafting, which showed this card made with collected scrap strips like the one pictured above. I thought that was a fabulous idea, I ‘m always saving these bits and then trying to come up with clever ways of using them. So here we are.


Fall Harvest

Here it is, October already, it was just August the other day, and now the leaves are turning pretty colors and falling off the trees and the walnuts are dropping with irregular “thuds” and the squirrels are racing up and down the fence trying to grab as many as their fat cheeks will carry.

Mom and Jack decided to become snowbirds and moved to Arizona, yesterday I stopped in at their place to check up on the state of things and managed to pick an entire bucket of tomatoes.  Would you look at these?

Insane, I know.  I will be roasting these and putting them up in the freezer for future use.

Since the price of bread is reaching up to 5 dollars per loaf, Jeff and I have been getting together on Wednesdays and baking breads, trying different recipes in a search for a good sandwich loaf.  I read up on all the different methods used to make and rise dough and decided to try mixing up the dough in my food processor when I made pizza dough last nite.  It took about 1 minute to make/mix bread up in the processor, and then, instead of bothering with a bowl, I just left it on my flour-dusted counter to rise, which it did, beautifully.  So, I will definitely be trying the food processor method next Wednesday.

My favorite part of Fall is the Hood River Apple Harvest, Fresh pressed apple cider and, well, pumpkins.  First, I made Apple Cider Pie with Gala and Jonagold apples.

after you cut, core, peel and dice the apples, you cook them a bit in the apple cider, this has the benefit of making a full pie, because it doesn’t slump down in the pie baking phase.

and then you top it with a crumb crust, its really delicious!

In addition to knitting a pumpkin, stuffing and lightly felting it, I also oven roasted one, (quartered, scooped out, placed on cookie sheet and baked at 300 degrees for an hour or more, until I could easily slide a knife in it) let it cool, scooped it out into the food processor, pureed it and baked a pumpkin cake with caramel frosting, as per Fannie Farmer.

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven at 375 degrees, grease and flour a 9X13 pan.

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and mix.  Add baking powder, soda, salt and spices and mix.  Add pumpkin puree and mix, alternate milk and flour, stir until just combined, adding walnuts if you choose.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for aprox 30 minutes. Cake should spring back when you touch it.

This recipe is from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.  One of the reasons I like Fannie Farmer is that it started out as an update of the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Over the years Marion has gone on to collect some of the best old-school recipes and updated them for our generation.

Caramel Frosting

In a microwave proof bowl, melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, add 1 cup packed brown sugar and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup milk and microwave another minute.  Whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and creamy, add 1 tsp vanilla and let it set while the cake cools.  Whisk again when cake is cooled and pour over the top, spreading with a spatula.

This recipe is modified from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Aside from Fannie Farmer, I would never do without America’s Test Kitchen’s Cookbooks and James Beard’s Cookbooks.  Those are my Go-To Cookbooks, although I have an embarrassing amount of cookbooks really.

Thunk!  I hear more walnuts hitting the ground, I’d better go get them before the squirrels beat me to it!

Walnut Tree Branches Against Grey Sky

Welcome to another winter day in Oregon!

Some have sunshine and its really, really cold.
Some have piles of snow, which alternates between being fun and being a pain in the patootie.
Some walk on beaches, free as the snowbirds that they are.

And then there is us Oregonians.  We have this.

Maybe that is why we pursue the indoor crafts so much!

Its not exactly as if we are being lured outdoors with promises of fun here.

And when we get bored we do stuff like this.

And we save stuff like this, because we are sure we can come up with something crafty to do with them and they are too good to throw out!

Then we find new things to do with stuff we have already, like these cat inchies I made with all my Scrapbooking/ATC supplies.

This is an attempt at quilting a project bag.  I spent a good half hour arranging the squares to my liking, only to have to put them away rather quickly, so I took the pix to remember the arrangement I finally settled on.

Now to get back to the sewing machine.  I have at least three quilt projects that need finishing up.

Sigh.  So much winter.

We won’t even mention the baking and cooking that goes on, that’s for another blog post!

Project 365

Project 365 (or I’m a sucker!)

I joined the Project 365 Group on Flickr where you take and upload a picture per day for the whole year.

Since Dad, Hannah and I were folding stars the day before, I had to take some pix of them.

and the cats

Dexter in black and white

and Cali absorbing some rays.

This should help me blog more, take more and better pix and get me in the habit of bringing my camera with me everywhere.

Want to know more?  Or join the internet group?  See here.  Take a Photo a Day: 365Project

Who knows, you and or your stuff could be the next picture I take!

A Crafter’s Christmas

Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through the home,
not a creature was stirring except for the mom.
With hooks, yarn and ribbon scattered everywhere,
She’s frantically crafting her gifts with great care
The rest of the family all snug in their beds
While visions of finish projects dance in mom’s head.
A shawl for her mother, for her husband a cap
What she really could use was a long winter’s nap.
When from her work table there rose such a clatter
She put down her crocheting to see what was the matter.
Out of her chair she flew in a flash
Knocking over her coffee and tripping on her stash
She put out her hands to soften the blow
But it was so comfy on her yarn down below
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But an Amigurumi sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer.
She narrowed her gaze and feeling quite sick
Said “someone must be pulling a trick”
More quickly than project ideas the questions they came,
Who did she know who could complete such a thing?
Was it Vicky or Barbara, Candace or Mike?
When while she was watching it vanished from sight.
She jumped to her feet and backed to the wall,
How could that be? She must have hit her head in the fall.
She rubbed at her eyes and saw the hooks on the ground
“I must have fallen asleep and knocked them all down.”
And then a quiet noise she heard from the stairs
They sounded like footsteps, two tiny pairs
She crept though the hallway, so silent and slick
And heard her youngest son say “I think it’s Saint Nick”
“It’s way too early for Santa to come”
The youngest one said while sucking his thumb.
If only they knew just how tired “Santa” was
She thought as she returned to refresh her coffee buzz.
Mittens for Johnny, he needed new ones this year
And for her hubby a cozy just for his beer.
The “giftworthy” ones the ones closest to her heart
Oh WHY did she wait so long to start?
Her eyeballs are tired her fingers so weary
Was it the Red Bull and coffee making her eyesight so bleary?
The love of a crafter is a tiring sort
And if you’re found worthy, at gifts you’d best not snort.
For she works furiously at her craft (and checks Rav every night)
Making a Merry Christmas for all and for all a great night!

Thanks to SonoranSweetheart from Ravelry for sharing her talents with us!

LMKG Project: Bracelets

Well, these are way too cute and fun with unlimited possible variations, well, with my stash it is.  I’ve made six or seven of these cuties and keep coming up with another idea to try.

LMKG Project: Bookmark

Super simple, pair these up with a book from someone’s wish list and you have a thoughtful gift.

I knit this linen-stitch bookmark while watching the last episode of  “Lie to Me” on Hulu, both of which are great!

Knit with Abstract Fiber Supersock in the Alfalfa color-way.

More of these cute little bookmarks will likely be knit up in the future.  Meanwhile, I have started the next project…stay tuned!

The more Last-Minute Knitted Gifts Project

Someone on Ravelry’s LMKG Group mentioned knitting every project in this book like the Julie & Julia book/movie and that got me to thinking…hey, that’s totally do-able!

Matter of fact, I can do it.   So, I am.
Knitting each and every one of the 30 projects in the new

more Last-Minute Knitted Gifts” book by Joelle Hoverson of the great Purl SoHo and blogging about it as I go.

First project up:  reusable hot coffee-cup sleeves

I’ve made two so far, they are quick and easy and like many of the projects from LMKG, use scrap yarns up beautifully.  As this book is all about knitted gifts, these will go into the Christmas Gift Pile.

They would be fun to pair up with a coffee cup and a gift card to someone’s favorite coffee shop.  Or with a cup wrapped up with some drink mixes, such as my homemade hot cocoa mix, plus some other  little goodies.


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