Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knitting needle case give away and my Fear of Commitment Cowl

I spent quite a bit of my day working on paper work for my son's governor's scholar application.  I finally quit all that and worked on a new knitting /crochet needle case.  I seem to have needles all over the place and that is just ridiculous.  We inherited quite a few from nanny and have bought our fair share as well.  I have all different kinds and sizes. I wanted something that atleast appeared organized, but was pretty as well.  I bought this remnant indoor/outdoor decor fabric for $1 a yard last year.  I think it is so pretty.  It is heavier and that was perfect for this case that will see a lot of pushing and pulling.  I basically created a big pocket and added an aditional pocket at the bottom.  It works! I can also roll it up to store it.  I made a second one this evening, but haven't sewn the long seams yet.  Maybe someone who needs one could sew their own "made to fit" seams in. Let me know if you could use one of these in the comments and  I will choose one reader and send my second one your way!

On to my next project: Fear of Commitment Cowl
I love this project so far.  It is all seeded rib stitch and the yarn is absolutely gorgeous and great to work with.  I bought it from a Yarn or a Tale.  It is kettle dyed merino wool/ alpaca/ silk. I got 275 yards for a steal.  I will definitely buy from them again.  I can't wait to finish it, but my shoulder and neck are not appreciating all the knitting I have been doing lately.  Sewing has given it a bit of a break.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Martha Stewart neck scarf completed

I finished this on Christmas Eve and wore it around the house to see if it was comfy and warm. Check! It was a pretty basic pattern, but I did do some new things:
Created a pocket (hole) by knitting divided stitches
Had to use increase and decrease (pretty new to me)

I really like the pattern and next time I will use the right weight.  Mine is a little too bulky of a yarn.  It worked, but it doesn't have that soft look to it. I have started the Fear of Commitment Cowl from Coco Knits.  I was originally going to do a Burberry look alike cowl from a Ravelry member, but it seemed too small once I got 15-20 rows into it.  I found this cute Coco Knits pattern on Ravelry as well.  It is super cute and versatile. I also love the idea of having 4 or 5 different ways to wear the same piece using a button! Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Our Christmas has been a little different this year.  My youngest has had the flu or some viral bug that resembles the flu for the last 4 days. Everyone else is well , but I hate it when my kids are sick.  Our house is a little more full this year due to my husband's grandmother passing away this time last year.  We inherited some furniture that we really don't have room for, but don't want to part with either.  Due to the overcrowding, we ended up not putting up our large tree, but instead have a little 2 ft tree-(this is so not right!) We also travel to Tennessee every Christmas to be with family, but due to bad weather and illness, we stayed home this year.  All in all the holiday has made us all feel a little off.  I am truly glad though that this day is not about us and our feelings and our wants and Christmas wishes.  It is instead about God sending His only Son to be born of a virgin.  That Son would grow into a man that would minister to so many and would eventually take on the sins of the world.  Thank you Jesus for your birth, your death and your resurrection! Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Looking for online sock knitting help?

I have been looking through my Socks a la Carte book at all the options for fabulous footwear.  I love the flip pages. I found a website listed in the resources at the back that had online sock classes.  The website is and this link will take you to the basic ribbed sock tutorial.  There is some calculating to make sure you knit socks that fit your feet and pictures that help you understand what your project should look like.  Haven't done this yet.  I am finally to the point of knitting the second loop on my Martha Stewart neck scarf-joy & jubilation! I have been trying to finalize gifts, wrapping and baking, so I haven't been able to devote much time to my projects.  I did enjoy a wonderful time Christmas shopping and sharing Earl Grey tea with my hubby last night.  We are planning to do a little more of that tonight!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cookie Baking Success

My kids and I did quite a bit of baking on Saturday.  I baked a ham first thing after a hearty breakfast and then we started on the cookie exchange treats.  We made peanut butter balls, peanut butter truffle brownies, chocolate dipped pretzels, white chocolate ritz cookies, Hello Dolly cookies, bacon chocolate chip cookies and porcelain cookies! Whew! I really don't know how many dozens we made, but I am glad that we only came home with 1 tray of exchange cookies to eat.  The hubby and I don't need all those tempting goodies. Then off to the choir concert and back home to bake the turkey.  Very enjoyable day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Graham Cracker Cookies

These are similar to Hello Dolly bars, but a little less gooey.  I wanted to bake some cookies for the exchange that are easy to pack and will hold up well for those who take them home.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I made my own today from graham crackers I had in my pantry)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Combine these 3 ingredients in small bowl. Set aside
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine (I used butter)
Beat these two together until smooth. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and stir to combine. Add crumb mixture and stir until smooth. Add 2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup flaked coconut and 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans). Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 oven until lightly browned-in my oven that was 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack and cool completely.
Have some pics, but blogger is having some problems with uploading. Hope to add them later.

A Whole lotta Makin' Goin' On

I have felt somewhat unproductive as of late, but yesterday was a good day! I think when I sit and knit my progress seems so slow that I feel lazy.  I am moving along on my Martha Stewart neck scarf. Hope fully I can finish it this week. I successfully knitted the loop for the end to slide through-Hoorah! Now I am on the 15 inch long span of just knit, so it is going a little faster.

I also serged and sewed Simplicity 2411 yesterday.  This is a pretty lightweight denim and it was very easy to work with.  I also bought some Coats & Clark jean thread for topstitching.  It looks really nice and adds nice detail to the skirt. This went together super easy except for the zipper side.  I somehow ended up messing that part up a bit and had to take one side out to correct it, but that wasn't too bad. She likes the skirt and is looking forward to wearing it-that works for me!

I also serged up some camo pillow cases as a gift and just need to finish the cuffs on those today. I was surprised at how soft this cotton is. The serger was so fast for these.

Today I am going to try and cut out another Simplicity 2411 in a black and white herring bone knit.  It is pretty heavy without a lot of stretch.  It is also baking day! We are having a Christmas dinner at church on Sunday and we are having a cookie exchange for dessert.  We are supposed to bring atleast 3 dozen cookies.  1 dozen will be put out to eat and the other 2 will be used for the exchange.  I have several types of cookies to bake today, including a new recipe my youngest daughter found for porcelain cookies.  They are really pretty! I have to get the cookies done today because I have to bake a ham and a turkey for the Christmas dinner tomorrow. We also have a homeschool choir concert at our local mall and a wedding shower to attend.  Isn't it amazing how busy the holidays seem to get.  This is my only really busy weekend for the season and I am looking forward to it.  Hope you and yours are having a wonderful time planning, baking, wrapping, singing and so on during this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Simplicity 2411

I have finished my blue dress except for the pocket flaps with buttons.  I sewed the 4 front buttons on this weekend.  I need to press it out a little, but I like the way it turned out.  Once I sew the pockets on I will take some pictures.  I am moving on to the next project though.  Simplicity 2411 is a baic skirt pattern I am going to use for my 13yo daughter's denim skirt.  It is a light to medium weight denim and feels like it will be easy to work with.  She wants it right at her knee so she can wear boots with it. It is so hard to find age appropriate clothing for young ladies.  Everything is ripped, tattered and SHORT! I want her to look feminine and stylish not hot and bothered. It is just ridiculous to me the fashion trends for young girls. There is certainly no feminine mystique when everything they have is revealed! Oh well I will now get off my soap box and move on to my sewing machine.  I have to cut the pattern out today.  My daughter is babysitting for 3 toddlers today, so I am going to be her tag team partner.  I want her to do most of the work-she is the one getting paid, but 3 toddlers can be a handful.  They are part of our sweet church family and their moms are getting some final Christmas shopping done today. Have a great day!

On another note:  I have quite a large handful of patterns I plan to giveaway soon.  Will post pictures and info this week for the giveaway. By the way-SewMamaSew is having another one of their giveaway days. If you have some spare time to scroll through the hundreds of posts and register-you should!

Cheesecake-cracks included

Well I had a very nice time at the wedding reception. Lots of yummy food, including many gorgeous cakes and goodies.  I forgot to take pics of the cheesecakes I made. Both of them ended up with cracks in them. They were both sliced and eaten anyway. The texture was out of this world creamy! I baked them both at 325 for 45 minutes and then left them in the turned off oven for 1 hour longer. The first one I placed on a cookie rack without a plate to cool and it ended up with a little larger fracture. I plated the second and thought it was going to be perfect, but alas it had a small fissure as well.  I sprayed the springform ring and tried to keep them from drafts, but they still cracked. The only thing I didn't try was the water bath.  Maybe next time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

$100 Holiday Gift from Novica at Grosgrain

$100 Holiday Gift from Novica Have a look see at some great items that you could use this gift card on!

Cheesecake Tips

photo from dairyfoods
I am baking a couple of cheesecakes tomorrow for a friend's wedding reception.  I love my simple recipe from Southern Living, but I many times have cracks that form on the top of my cheesecake either during baking or as it is cooling. I went in search of info today in order to stop those unsightly cracks and found some great info at this website.  I didn't know about the eggs trapping air in the cheesecake.  My recipe calls for a 350 oven for 40 minutes and then a 30 minute time after the oven is off.  I might try the 325 for 45 and an hour in the oven after it is turned off. I love the flavor and texture of the cheesecake-just not the cracks! My cheesecakes have a texture like the photo above (light, airy, smooth & creamy). I just want the top to look like that! Will let you know if it helps. Not sure about the water bath. Will try it if the other suggestions don't work. I will post pics and the recipe tomorrow. Happy baking.

Brownie Tiers

I made some brownie tiers yesterday for practice.  We have some young friends getting married in January and they are looking for a non-traditional wedding cake alternative.  They both love brownies, so that is what they plan to do. I have seen several of these mini-brownie towers online. I made them in a jellyroll pan and then used biscuit cutters of different sizes.  They were still warm when I cut them. They would do better fully cooled.  I think a little decoration would add just the right touch and they would be beautiful individually plated.  I think simple swirls of chocolate syrup on the plate and maybe a deep red cherry on the side would be very pretty.  I like those silver candy pearls too. Not sure if she will want to go this route, but it was fun playing with them anyway. Not to mention, my family was totally crushed there was leftover brownie!

Knitting progress

I am still working on my Martha Stewart neck scarf.  I really haven't taught myself anything but knitting and purling, so this increase and decrease thing is quite new. Shaping scares me a bit. I did learn how to use a cable needle for my scarf, but this process is a little different.  I am at the end of making the little hole for the end of the scarf to slide through.  This yarn is way too bulky, so it is making the knitting a bit difficult.  I can see why they said sport weight.  Hopefully it will still be a wearable project. 
On another note, I have made a little progress on my straight knit stitch Fishermans wool scarf.  I call this my car project.  I leave it in there and anytime I have a few minutes or 30 while I am waiting on a child to be done with something-(choir, Bible study, school, etc) I knit a few rows.  One day it will be finished and every time I wear it I can think back to all the activities I knit into it.  My kids are growing too fast. My son will be driving at the end of this month and my oldest now has her driving privileges back after a 3 month doctor imposed "no drive" period. I will not be the taxi service for much longer. 

I am still waiting to receive my merino silk yarn for my cowl. Hopefully I can work on that over Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Martha Stewart neck scarf

My cowl is a project no more! I must have dropped some stitches and it bugged me. I ripped it out and wound it back into a ball. I had been eyeing this Martha Stewart neck scarf on and I started it with the same yarn. It is probably a bit bulky for this pattern, but I am learning the whole increase/decrease thing with an easy weight yarn. It looks good so far. I have ordered some gorgeous merino wool silk blend yarn for my cowl. There is a free pattern on Ravelry for one that looks like a $750 Burberry cowl. It is made from merino/silk yarn in a taupe and it is really pretty. If you haven't visited Ravelry yet, you need to. It is free to sign up and you can browse through patterns that are free and not free. You can keep ones that are your favorites, you can keep pictures and info on your projects (finished and not finished). Pretty cool site for all you knitters and crocheters out there! The pic of the cowl is the one from ravelry. I hope mine turns out that good.

Socks a La Carte

I recently ordered 2 knitting books and both of them came in yesterday. I didn't realize this book actually has 3 sections that "flip" so you can design your favorite combination sock. There are cuffs, bodies and heel/toe sections. All of the patterns are designed to work together no matter what combination you choose. It doesn't give many picture details of how to actually knit the socks. The patterns are all just a list of the rows with a glossary in the back for help. It did reference a few online sources for help with knitting socks though. One of the sites offers online classes I think. Once I get the hang of the actual process, I think this will be fun.

Crock Pot Success Story

The crockpot class at our local pregnancy center went very well. We served "Perfect Chicken", "Hoppin' John", "Calico Beans", and "Peach Crisp" all from crock pots. We had a side salad of mixed greens and bread as well. I bought vanilla icecream for the peach dessert and it was incredibly good. A friend of mine works at the center and also attends our church, she made the peach dessert recipe I found and we were really surprised at how easy and good the recipe was. Each of the lovely ladies test tasted everything and then we talked about cooking in a crockpot. I gave them 7 recipes to try at home. Today I am going to share the peach crisp recipe with you.
Combine 3/4 OLD FASHIONED oats, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup biscuit mix (like Bisquick), and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Take 2-15oz cans of peaches and drain well. Toss peaches in dry mixture. Spray crockpot and pour entire mixture in. Cook on low 4-5 hours. Serve with vanilla icecream or whipped cream.
The edges did get a little crisp and over browned, but the result was very yummy. Just don't stir the finished product. Scoop from the middle out. We served about 16 with a double batch last night.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I love blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes and blueberry jello salad. They are so good for you and they freeze so well. I have 6 blueberry bushes in my yard, but they really aren't producing yet. They are only a year old. I buy frozen unsweetened blueberries and thaw them a little at a time to add to pancakes and muffins. I love this blueberry salad though because it is light and fresh. It will serve a crowd and it is like dessert without all the guilt. Well I am going to keep telling myself that! Here is the recipe:
1 can blueberry pie pie filling
2 small boxes of grape jello
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups boiling water
Mix jello with water, then add pineapple and pie filling and place in a 13X9 pan. Refrigerate until set.
1-8oz block cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
Blend with eletric mixer and spread on top of jello salad. Top with fresh blueberries, crushed pecans or walnuts. Share salad if desired-heehee

The Girl with the Blue Dress

I have been doing some school, some work on my son's highschool transcript, some house cleaning and now a little sewing. My blue/turquoise dress is definitely looking a little more wearable after the 30 minutes or so I spent on it. I sewed the neck down-didn't use the facings because of major bulk issues. I decided against the stand up collar for the same bulk reason, but also to allow me to wear it with tissue weight turtlenecks or sweaters under it. I also sewed up the side seams and sewed one of the pockets up. I have just pinned the pocket in place as well as the silver buttons. What do you think? Obviously needs hemming. I am going to cut off quite a bit. I tried it on and it looks a bit dowdy at this long length on my 5'2 frame. I am thinking the knee. There will be a fourth button on the front and then another pocket with a button. I will try it on to place the pockets so that my hips don't make them flip out-that would be tragic! I like the fit of the dress though, comfortably snug but not tight. Hopefully the weekend will provide me with some sewing/knitting time.
I am hoping I don't have to scrub rocks with comet and a toothbrush over the weekend. Scrub rocks with a toothbrush you say? How odd! Yes I did say it and have been doing it as well. We are still working on our fireplace insert area of the house and my hubby has decided we need to use rock from our very own creek-(sentimental & affordable). Quite a laborious task for him and my son to dig them out and push them all up the hill in a wheelbarrow though.The problem is this rock is quite gross. Due to the dry spell, it is covered in algae and moss and dirt. That all has to go before it can be attached to a vertical concrete wall. So we are scrubbing them all with a toothbrush. I know you wish you could participate in the weird antics with my family, but alas you cannot.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sweet Potatoes & Mac n Cheese

Here are my recipes that I use for sweet potato casserole and baked mac and cheese-Ohh so good!
1-8oz pkg macaroni noodles cooked according to box directions
2 large eggs beaten
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups sharp or extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese,divided
Combine all ingredients except noodles and 1 cup of cheese. Add macaroni noodles and stir gently. Place in greased 13X9 inch baking dish and cover with remaining cup of cheese. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. If cheese begins to brown too much-tent some aluminum foil over your dish.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup white sugar
1 stick of butter melted
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup half and half or milk
1 stick of softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
Mix all casserole ingredients and place in 3 qt casserole dish. Combine topping ingredients until crumbly mixture forms. Scatter across top of casserole. Bake in 350 oven for 30-40 minutes.

New Knitting Books

I have a church friend who began a sock class last night and I am unable to take it with her-so sad! The fee was $20 which I suppose is reasonable for a 3 session class. I have been perusing most of the knitting books at Barnes and Noble and just didn't want to spend $20 or more on a "How to Knit Socks" type book. I found several that had multiple knitting projects, like hats, scarves, socks etc., but they are all expensive and didn't have really clear instructions (obviously they don't understand how much of a beginner I am). I really want the book to ask me questions like, "Andrea did you understand that or do you want me to show you again?" or "Andrea watch me do this one more time so that you don't screw that heel flap up!" So yesterday I decided that I would spend the $20 I would have spent on the class on knitting books. That's right-I said books-plural. I looked on which is a wonderful place to buy used books. I found a sock book and a knitters handbook by Readers Digest. The Readers Digest sewing handbook is very nice and has many great pictures to help you with each step. I was able to look at it in Barnes and Noble. I figure the knitter's handbook will be similar. I purchased the books for $6.99 total. The rest was shipping. I still only spent $15 and I will soon have 2 new knitting books and hopefully a cool pair of socks to boot!

Knitted cowl

I have just recently started knitting a cowl. I am using a Paton acrylic/wool mixed yarn in a charcoal grey. It has little bits of colored yarn throughout that I really like. I looked at many cowl patterns on and also at Most of them were fairly simple, just a long process of going round and round with that many stitches. My son wonders why I would spend so much time knitting something that in his opinion is "weird". Boys! I cast on 115 stitches and I am just knitting 4 rows then purling 4 rows. I do notice my hands cramping a bit if I work on this too long in one sitting. I will just chalk it up to technique, not that I am older and probably have beginning signs of arthritis. I sometimes feel like the knitting actress in the old Aspercreme commercial-ha ha! This pic is from the first night. I have added another 8-10 rows now. Will post more pics as I progress. I like having a knitting project to work on while sitting with my family. I can do it and still talk and spend time with them. When I sew, I feel so challenged by the steps and new instructions that I have to really focus on the sewing. It is very relaxing for me when I can devote the time to it. How about you? Does knitting or sewing relax or stress you out?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken with a twist

I have been trying to find slow cooker recipes for a class we are hosting at our local crisis pregnancy center next week. I have come up with quite a few and have started cooking them for my family to "test" them out, but last night I baked this chicken in the oven. I used a 3 qt baking dish, but you could use a 13X9 pan just as easily. Spray the pan and then lay 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the bottom. I then put Havarti cheese on the top of each breast. I love Havarti! So creamy and smooth-yum! I then mixed a can of cream of chicken with roasted garlic and mushroom soup with 1/2 cup white wine. Pour this over the chicken. Then take some crushed stuffing mix-I use Pepperidge Farms. Sprinkle 1 cup over the top of the soup mix and then pour 4 Tbsp of melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. I only had cubed stuffing and did not put it through my food processor. It would be better if it had truly been crushed. Pretty tasty chicken.