Monday, October 6, 2014

recent and future knitting projects

Clearly I've lost the habit of blogging. The boys are growing quickly, and I feel keenly aware of the passing of time. These days when there's a choice between doing things and the recording of doing things, I tend to opt for the former. I don't even have the patience to document the processes; S now uses my digital camera, while I take spotty pictures with a phone.

Yet I appreciate having this log of life and projects over the past five years. Without it, for instance, I wouldn't have remembered that it was a full three years ago (!) that I bought the yarn which finally became a pair of socks.
Making Waves sock pattern by Pam Gordnier
When I had finished this project, S asked me to make him a necktie. He wanted it in navy, and he wanted it in seed stitch. This pattern worked perfectly.

My favorite part, however, was adding the keeper loop in the back. S chose his Maker Faire exhibitor wristband out of the ribbon box, thus reinforcing all my tendencies to hoard bits of material that "could be used for something."

Next up is another request from S: a cardigan with cables and a shawl collar. He's given the nod to this pattern. Let's hope it's not another three years before it's finished.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

a whole new bag

Where does a year go? I have no particular excuse for not blogging since May of last year, just a general impatience with sitting down at the computer these days.

Both boys are now in public school, C at the community college and S at an alternative charter high school. More time is going with the family here, and with friends, here.

The old freecycle fridge was moved and works just fine, save for a tendency for the tiny interior freezer compartment to frost over.
And there are always new projects.

Most recently, I decided to make myself a bag after looking fruitlessly for one that wasn't: a) huge or b) expensive. My old purse had fallen onto decidedly hard times—
—and I wanted something a little brighter for summer, anyway.

The dimensions were determined from the size of my iPad2 (with a little extra room on top, this was approximately 11"X9"), and wallet (about 4" deep).

Since it was cobbled together rather than planned, what I have here are a few notes, many of which come from the experience of making the Weekender bag.

The sides went together first, with pockets (one zippered, one gathered) and straps in place. The main material was a heavy home decor/canvas-y print I'd originally hoped to make the Weekender with, and the straps were from a remnant of aqua-colored vinyl. Every piece was backed with heavy duty fusible interfacing (Pellon 71F). The sides are approximately 14"X12" with 1/2" seam allowances. The finished straps 1"X48", with about an inch eventually disappearing into the seam.
Sides and bottom went on next. It would have been easier to do this as one 4"X29" strip, but I didn't have that option and instead pieced it all together from more vinyl scraps.
Right side out:
Finally, there was a lining (quilting cotton with a lighter interfacing, made to the same dimensions as the outer shell—no photos of this part, unfortunately) and a zippered top. I used this tutorial to make it and if I ever do this again, I hope I remember to leave the zipper open at one end so that the lining can be sewn to the bag by machine instead of by hand.
I'm liking this little tote more than I would have thought. By customizing it, I could put in just what I need and no more. It holds wallet, phone, hairbrush, keys, paper, pen, and hooray, my iPad in a barely noticeable zippered pocket. As simple as it is, it is my favorite feature.
All of which has me wondering what it is that makes a good bag. Do you have a favorite daily carrier and if so, what is it that you like about it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

frozen bananas à la Bluth

What are you going to be eating on May 26? This has been the topic of many conversations in our house. On that date, Season 4 of Arrested Development will be released, all at once, on Netflix. 

We talked about a few possibilities for our family viewing party: hot ham water, candy beans, juice...but really, there is only one sensible choice, and that is frozen bananas. The banana stand is at the heart of the Bluth Company, after all. And while no one in our family would really enjoy cornballs or mayoneggs, there is no one who doesn't like frozen bananas.

Chocolate-Covered Frozen Bananas

You need: bananas, chocolate, butter, popsicle or caramel apple sticks and (optional) nuts. Ideally, the bananas would be slightly riper than shown here. The stick will split a green banana, but will sink in nicely to a lightly freckled one.

We have one child who loves almonds, and one who doesn't like nuts at all, so I alternate between both plain and crunchy bananas (ie, nuts and no-nuts).
Cut the bananas in half, push the stick up the base, and place them on a tray to freeze for at least half an hour, and up to overnight.
Meanwhile, chop the nuts. 
When the bananas are frozen, melt the chocolate over a double boiler (or in a pot nestled in a larger pot) and add enough butter to bring it to the consistency of, say, mayonnaise. Chocolate melted alone will be too thick to coat easily.
Because I don't have a dipping pot, I spread the chocolate on the bananas with a frosting spatula, seen above. Then, depending on your preference, you can either roll the banana in nuts or place it back on the tray to freeze again. But work quickly, as the frozen banana starts the process of hardening the chocolate almost immediately.
That's pretty much all there is to it. Whether or not you watch Arrested Development, a frozen banana is just about the perfect treat on a hot summer afternoon.

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