Sunday, May 29, 2011

Knitting Update

I've finished a few projects lately, finally done all planned baby projects for now!! Finished recently:
Baby blanket for Cobble Cobble's sweet little girl, quilting pattern inspired.
Hooded jacket for a friend's little boy.
And no picture update w/ both socks, but I FINALLY finished my mom's Christmas present pair of socks! Only about 5+ months late. I basically knit the whole sock while on the trip to Alaska. Everyone says socks are good travel projects b/c they are small and portable, and they are right! After doing this first pair of socks I am super inspired to knit a pair or two for myself. I have have at least four skeins of sock yarn in the stash waiting for projects. I got some of the new yarn from a cute new yarn shop in Juneau, hand dyed in Juneau.

But, first I have to get back to a project all for me. My "Cherry Cardigan." I probably put the needles down for this over 8 months ago when baby season reared its head again. I'm excited to get back to it. Took me a good bit to remember where I was in the pattern, but I am ready to go. Maybe I'll even get it done in time to wear it in the proper season!

Off to a bbq. I'll post pics of Alaska soon, they are on the other computer...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Last Frontier

In about 10 hours we leave from National Airport via Alaskan Airlines for Juneau AK. A very long stop in Seattle, WA for our layover, then finally we hit AK at like 2 am Eastern time. Tomorrow's gonna be loooooooooooooooog.

But...Alaska should be awesome! Don't worry, I'll take tons of pictures and be sure to share when I get home. Byeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Awesome Saturday

So this past Saturday I was brave and ventured to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival all by myself. I had heard about this kind of festival before, or more, the knitting part and I really wanted to see what it was all about. Well, it was clearly popular, b/c when I was approaching like 2 hours after it opened I got stuck in traffic on the access road for like 15 mins just trying to park. But it was totally worth it! It was held at the Howard County fairgrounds, and a major part of the event is agricultural and basically farmers that have sheep and produce wood/lamb meat and whatnot showing off their animals and having demonstrations on sheep herding, sheep shearing, and other animaly things. I was there for the yarn! Another huge part of festivals like this is not actually the yarn, but the wool from the sheep that people use to spin their own yarn. Spinning is a major pastime for tons of people, and like knitting or other crafts/arts, those who spin, are seriously serious about it. There were auctions for spinning wheels and lots of spinning accessories for sale.
This woman was just camped out spinning her own yarn. She was also wearing socks she knitted!

I'm not into that aspect yet. I did see a pin that made me laugh though, it said, "I spin...because knitting is not weird enough!" I bought pins that said "Will knit for wine," and "Friends don't let friends knit drunk" b/c I thought they were hilarious. I saw a women w/ a t-shirt that said, "will knit for beer." Knitting really is a community with deep bonds and people who truly enjoy knitting for the sake of knitting and making things for themselves and other people. Just this week I was working on an older project and realized, knitting makes me relax.

So...I saw lots of cool things while walking around the stalls of vendors and outside. It really did have a festival feel. There were musicians, food vendors, and tons and tons of shops selling yarn, fiber [to make yarn] knitting accessories, books, knitted objects. There were classes all weekend long, and I passed a tent full of little kids all sitting in chairs knitting and I basically stopped to stare it was so cute. There were people just set up places spinning or knitting for the fun of it, AND there were cute animals to pet. I pet some Angora goats, which I found out, make "mohair". Angora sheep make "angora."
These little guys are Angora Goats. I pet a few, they were soft!

Finally, i got some awesome yarns for future projects. Part of me wished I had come with projects/patterns in mind b/c buying yarn for the heck of it is dangerous. 1- you don't know what you will use it for, so it might go to waste, 2- what if you find the perfect use, but don't have enough! So I tried to buy w/ a pattern from the vendor, or enough for small project.

The white yarn is the softest yarn I've ever touched. I HAD to buy it. From the point when I touched it, and then went to talk to the husband on the phone about something and went back there were only two skeins left, so I snatched them up! Luckily they are just enough to make this soft, flowy hooded sweater for me! The pinky yarn is for socks, as is the ball of black/blue yarn. I'm finishing up a pair of socks for my mom and I really want to make the next pair for me. The spirally [hank] of yarn is super soft and variegated and I got a free pattern for a neat scarf, and finally the other ball of multicolored yarn was just a spontaneous purchase! I could easily make a gift scarf or something from it, and hey, it was on sale [or at least they said it was.] I easily spent $100 on these yarns, and I had to make myself walk away from so many more that were awesome, but were like $40 for just one skein/hank/ball. Which, at this point in time, I cannot justify. Yarn at stores like JoAnn's and others is ok, but you don't really make long lasting quality things from it, so I know really good yarn is going to be expensive, but...I couldn't justify that. The best part is, at least half of these were actually made in Maryland, from MD sheep and crafts people that spun and dyed the yarn themselves. So I can feel good about buying local! I can't wait to go to this next year and will see if anyone else wants to go. It's free and was so much fun, even all by myself!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

Yes, ok ok, I watched the royal wedding. Not at 4 am, I'm not THAT crazy! I have off work today so I was sound asleep till 10ish :-D I watched the reruns of it this afternoon and I have to say I enjoyed it. Her dress was beautiful, but actually not that much fancier than some of my friends' dresses. The whole time I was watching I was thinking to myself, wow, what is going through her mind? She is my age [give or take some months] and she is now part of the royal family! The pomp and circumstance of this day is just the beginning of her new life!!! She looked like she was taking it all pretty well, she didn't look that overwhelmed. There were some great moments where they just looked happy and in their own special moment. Being the sappy girl I can be made me think of my wedding day and of course that made me happy. Did you watch the wedding?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2 posts in like 6 hours!!!!

I'm on a blogging roll!!!!!!!!!!

So...all this baking recently has made me wish it were cookie season, which I guess is Christmas season. When everyone has those cookie exchange parties. Or you can bake cookies for the church bazaar. I'm loving baking and trying new recipes right now, but who needs dozens of awesome cookies laying around? Right? Sooo....who out there wants to share with me? Or have a baking party. We can bake just one type/batch of cookies and share, or try several recipes together? Like actually bake together rather than bring the already cooked things to the party? I think it would be fun to pick some baking/cooking things to try as a team???? Who is with me!!!???

Also, baking all these things makes me think it would be fun to have a 'brunch party.' What do you think? Cookies, cakes, quiche, mimosas...all things delicious. Again, who is with me?

Ok, maybe I'm just up way too late, but I'm excited about all of this. Ladies, gents- lets plan something :-D

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cookie experiment

Have you ever tried to recreate something you ate at a restaurant? I've been dying to find a recipe for Italian almond cookies like the ones at Vaccaro's Italian Bakery in Little Italy, Baltimore. They are amazing. Chewy, super almondy, and just delicious! I've looked at all the recipes in my books at home and never found anything that sounded right. Andrew found this recipe and I've given it a try. The super almond flavor is from almond paste, which is a little pricey, but definitely has the right flavor.

I halved the recipe but actually had about 2 oz. less of the paste than I needed. I'm hoping that is not a terminal loss. The cookies are turning out ok, much flatter than the originals though. I'm not sure that is because of the missing paste though. What makes a cookie flat vs. rounder and puffy? Anyone know? Is it flour? Eggs? Type of sugar?

So, they taste perfect, but since they are flat, there's not as much chewiness available. Still happy though! Now I need some will power to keep from eating a dozen of them tonight!

The Vaccaro's cookie is in the middle, see it's shape?
Here are mine cooking on the sheet:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Awesome Happy Hour

Yesterday Beeps and her husband met my husband and me at Talara in the Harbor East neighborhood of Baltimore. We had been there before and have been itching to take Beeps and husband there because they have all kinds of great Latin American dishes and drinks, they even have caipirinhas!

Well we took full advantage of their great happy hour deals. We had mojitos, caipirinhas, and seviche! One of the dishes we had was this Salmon Asian Tartar:

It was yummy. Who knew raw fish was so tasty. I've had sushi/seviche several times now and it's always good. The whole raw fish thing is interesting in that, the texture is so very different than cooked fish. And it can take on the taste of the sauces and other ingredients. This dish was seasoned with soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil and capers, served on sushi rice and nori rolls with white truffle oil wasabi mayonnaise,Tobiko caviar and fried lotus root. I would totally recommend it.

And if you go, make sure you try the Key Lime Mojito...fabulous! [I had four :-D ]