Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cake: A crumby study

It's no secret that the baking crazy takes hold of me every now and then. I bake so much that I have to bring most of it into work or send it out to our friends and family nearby. My neighbor that shares the floor with us (We have a 6 unit building) and I have taken to doing a bake exchange between our 2 flats. (I admit to eating more than my share of her blueberry pie, by sneaking it off to the office for breakfast. I may actually be a pie person now.)

I have always loved Smitten Kitchen's blueberry crumb cake. I rushed this one a bit. I think I used too much blueberry considering these were ginormous. The ratio was a bit off.

And since cherries are sweet delicious and in season, I thought let's try it with cherries. This was tasty and this time, I could've used more fruit. This version also taught me that maybe buying a cherry pitter is not such a crazy investment after all ... 

Lastly I modified The Kitchn's Nectarine and Blackberry upside down cake. I used a mixture of cake and all purpose flour because that is what I had in the pantry and I completely left out the cornmeal. Seriously, do we need to fusion and texture everything people? Settle down. Let the classic cake shine. I also used brown sugar instead of granulated for the topping. It looked a bit like it was under a sheet of glass when I was done. The cake was tender and people tell me it wasn't too sweet. I took it to my father and stepmother's this weekend and I think there was one piece left. That's a good sign, indeed.

WINNERS! The random number generator selected 9 (Kathy B's son Zach) & 10 (The Delusional Knitter) for the National Parks Coloring book giveaway. I'll be in touch to confirm mailing addresses and get those out to you this week. Thanks to everyone that entered.

What's bringing the sweet and color in your summer so far?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Giveaway: National Parks Coloring Book

A good friend of our family's Ms. Sophie Tivona a talented illustrator and artist has released her first coloring book. It's a coloring book of illustrations of the National Parks.

From Amazon.com
In order to support and celebrate such an awesome project I'm going to be giving away 2 of these books.

All you have to do is leave a comment here with a way to contact you for your mailing address. Ravelry, email etc. by end of day June 12th. I'll announce the winner June 13th. 

Meanwhile, color your days in happy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

WIP Wednesday

There have been happy things and good times at the homestead.

Hot cups of coffee in those reusable to-go cups from The Starbucks that make my life less crazy. I drink half a cup of home and finish the rest at the office. AHHHH. Less Crazy thank you coffee gods!

I also managed to make some rounds on my Golden State Warriors playoff socks.  I'm about 2/3s finished with sock #2 and then after much influence from the blogophere and you lovely commenters I'm on to Flaum! I'm sure there will be other things socks going on as well ...

I also have read a little bit. Amazing, I know. The boys sort of gave me a snort for my combination light mystery/romance but it's like watching an episode of Rosemary and Thyme. Maybe it's not brilliant but it's fun and comforting. Those two qualities actually mean a lot to me right now :) It's such a fun easy read, that I am almost done after a few nights of a few hours!

And of course there has been family, friends and food. My inlaws came over for brunch on Memorial Day after they stayed Sunday night in the city. We cooked and prepped food like there were 15 of us, but hey ... that's what we do and nothing went to waste. (I'm still eating those biscuits and I polished off the cherries at the office yesterday!)

Oh there was SO much more ... and I didn't even eat any smoked salmon!
My exercise remains at the bookends of the week, but that will do. There is plenty to keep in progress in the meantime. Just a few more days and then we are back to weekending. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fresh thoughts on Thursday

I'm done people.

I haven't touched what was supposed to be a Loro vest in weeks. In all honesty I haven't been knitting much in general. But as I stared at the blue gray yarn in the corner, I felt less and less excited for it. This is unusual for me. Generally if you tell me I can't work on a project it makes me long to get those needles clicking more.

I know, I can be a bit contrary.

Yesterday I thought why am I knitting this vest? Do I really hanker for a vest?

I can't remember. But no, I'm not feeling it. I think when I was reading through the next parts of the pattern for the different pieces and was strategically thinking how I was going to ensure my pieces matched up evenly for seaming and sewing I just about fell asleep on myself.

Really? Seaming? Really sizing pieces? Ugh no. I think all I can manage right now is making sure sleeves are even.

So rip we go.

What to do with this sweater amount of worsted weight yarn? I'm kicking around between this cape thing and Flaum. What do you think? And no, I have no idea why they both start with F.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Kathy's Monday Meme: This or That

Love a Kathy Monday Meme ...

Sunday morning bake: A co worker gave me a bunch of lemons from his tree and thus we have lemon cake. The glaze was much better this time, since I melted the butter for the mixture and poured it on instead of spreading a lumpier mixture on a hot cake.

Do you love Noro or not so much?  
I like other people's Noro. I don't really enjoy knitting with it that much myself. The one project I find validating using it in is Turn a Square hat by Jared Flood. Okay so maybe I'm like Kathy. "Both"

Are you more likely to wear a  poncho or a shawl? 
Shawls. I like to wear them like a scarf. I like ponchos on other people, especially children and my friend Mrs. B. They have whimsy. 

Which brings you more joy,  Casting on or Casting off? Oh always casting on it brings out the eternal knit optimist Hands down Casting On. I actually have a little anxiety (shocking I know) at Casting Off. I begin to think, "Oh crap what if all that work and all that love is useless and nothing?" I get over it pretty quick. The wonderful thing that is knitting simply is, the actual act of knitting no matter how I feel about it afterwards. Such a lovely thing.

Are you more likely to knit a baby a hat or booties? 
Hat all day everyday. Booties are so ... small but I struggle thinking I can get them to work/match! Although I had a good exchange with Judy about booties and she even recommended some excellent patterns, so perhaps this summer I can be turned. I wouldn't be surprised. Knitters are so good at infectious enthusiasm. There was a day in my knitting life I was sure I was never EVER going to knit socks. pffft. I know! Who was that crazy lady?

Does anyone in your family fall asleep in a chair or do they fall asleep in bed? 
My grandfather was a recliner snoozer, my father is a chair snoozer, even my stepfather is a chair snoozer,  and since I am a girl more drawn to tradition than I like to admit, I have married a man that can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime through a small war possibly. Unlike Kathy's Fireman after he dozes for an hour or so, he can still skip to bed and be sawing logs before I have even brushed my teeth. The Kid and I have to be either sick or jet lagged to properly fall asleep on the couch. It doesn't mean it won't happen every now and again, but it's very rare.

*In my husbands defense he gets up pretty early and is in the service industry where they are on their feet and have to use their bodies. Crazy right?!?

Would you rather win a hot air balloon ride or a dinner cruise?  
Both freak me out a little because it sounds like I'm trapped. I don't know how enjoyable that is. I've been on a bay cruise before so I'll go with the hot air balloon. Surely they have some that are short right -- where I can go up and see the beauty of the landscape and then return without being up there for half a day, right? 

Do you watch the awful news or do you avoid it? 
I watch it. Sometimes I swear at it. I will turn it off if I get really riled up. But most times I'm okay, I can get through most of it. I am sort of obsessed with the local morning news on my days off. It doesn't rile me up in the same way. I can enjoy local color and the weather as well as check out the anchors outfits. What? I have my favorites!

Do you go to the movies or wait for them on cable? 
I like to go to the movies for the big action movies. However I'm very content to watch movies at home as well. Like Kathy, I have shameless love for the butter popcorn. I bring a shaker of nutritional yeast and sprinkle it on. I haven't been going to the movies lately, schedule has been bad so the kid has been going with his pals. I hope to remedy that a bit this summer.

Here's to a good week!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Then this happened: American Strawberry Scones

I feel very short on time. I know this is a theme for me, but I suppose I just feel the need to constantly explain why my blog presence has been smaller of late.

Work has been busy, my family life has been busy, my social life has been busy and somehow I've been trying to shove some exercise in there. One afternoon of soccer can take up a good 3 or so hours of my day, and that's without baking for the team! (I take 2 buses and a train to get out there and you have to get out there early enough for warm up, and then of course we linger for a little bit to catch up with our friends.)

But I'm doing alright. Trying to keep up the balance like most of you.

Soccer season has come to an end. Track is over, and school will be out next week. So if work could just cooperate a little I think I'll do just fine.

My knitting needles have been a little quiet while I have been going from one thing to another. However I was baking like crazy. I baked every single match weekend. While I was baking for the team, I started to explore other recipes just for home and entertaining.

I can't remember how I got there (much like the discovery of a pattern completely different from the one you were originally looking at ...) but I became a little obsessed with my American scones.

What makes them American? Well my British friends laugh at the Starbucks sized scones we have out here. The idea that the scones below also have fresh fruit in them AND have decorative sugar AND a vanilla glaze was just plain bonkers. I've made these a few times now and I am pleased to report to my mother that they did not turn out like hockey pucks. (One time she was visiting and I attempted scones and she literally knocked it on the kitchen wall to prove what a fail it was. Good Golly I love that woman.)

Well without further ado. Here's what's been happening while the wool waits ...

I did these for a girls brunch up in Tahoe and since there were 9 of us, I went for the old rectangle / cube cut instead of the pie cut that yields even numbered servings :)

I'll be back shortly with some more rambling. I hope you're all well. I'll be around checking in on your lovely selves. I've missed the stories, the book reviews and the goodness of heart. I've missed the fluffy animals and the fiber. Wishing you all a lot of laughs and smiles. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

I don't know what size these socks really are.

My friend Clare brought me some lovely yarn from her last trip to England. It is West Yorshire Spinners yarn. This Pheasant colorway is from their Country Birds line. It was super fun to knit up and watch the stripes change.

I did have two knots in this ball which is why the stripes do not line up exactly. I couldn't knit with them without cutting and joining, because that knot would've irritated a foot. Good thing I don't care, I still think they are striking.

Here's the thing, this pair of socks was most definitely a "please Universe, let me have a few rows of knitting in my life before the insanity sets in." It was late. I admit, I used these socks as a coping mechanism for a few nights of insomnia.

Therefore as pretty as they are, I'm not sure what size they are. I thought they were my size, but they blocked bigger. I don't mind. I have enough yarn leftover to make myself some ankle socks and I think they will make a friend with bigger feet happy. Hand knit socks are happiness, right?

Anyhow, on the note of bigger feet and gifting knit socks I have been eyeing this chart from Zappos. What do you think? Useful? What method do you use to knit someone's "size"?

Good stitches and good sleeping to you. Catch you soon loony tunes. :)