Indoor Blooms

While the spring bulbs are in full force outside, there are plenty of blooms inside as well.

Bonnie inspired me to post a photo of the orchids on my windowsill. Most of these started blooming about a month ago, and will continue to bloom for at least another month. I have a couple of others that bloom in the fall, as well.

orchids

These are all “grocery store” orchids, most of which I’ve had for at least a year or two. The lady slipper on the left (green and white) is new this year. The others are all Phalaenopsis orchids, which are really pretty easy to grow.

I’ve had good luck with my orchids reblooming and lasting for at least a few years, but even if I didn’t, they’re still a great bargain. If you buy an orchid when the blooms are just starting, and there are a lot of buds, you can pretty much expect 2 to 3 months of flowers. So even if you toss the plant out or give it away when the flowers are gone, it’s still a lot of bloom for the buck.

 

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Vintage Green

I took my mother to a local dollar store recently. While we were going up and down the aisles, she spotted a bin of brown fun fur yarn, and jokingly said “Look! You can knit me a mink coat!”. A lady further down the aisle gave us a funny look. Did she think my mom was serious? Anyway, next to the fun fur was a bunch of Patons Classic Wool, all the same color – leaf green. I’ve been on a yarn diet since I have so much in my stash, but for a buck a skein? Heck yes. It’s not the most flattering color for my skin tone, but I figured even if I didn’t use it for something, someone would. I could make some baby stuff, or even just give it all to my mom to use for her charity knitting (hats and scarves for the local homeless shelter).

They had 20 skeins, so I bought them all. Over the next couple of days I checked out some of the other stores in the same chain, but none of them had yarn.

I didn’t really expect to like the yarn all that much – I loved the old Patons Classic Wool, but had heard it wasn’t as good since they moved production from Canada to Turkey. But I played around with it and did some swatches – and I really like it. It feels much nicer than Cascade 220, and doesn’t really seem much different from the older version.

I figured that if I made a cardigan, or mixed it with white in a stranded/striped sweater, the color might not be that bad on me. But there was so much of it! That’s when I had the idea to double it and use it as super-bulky yarn. I browsed through my patterns, and came up with a Bernat pattern booklet from 1966. I’ve been wanting to make some of those old patterns. The doubled worsted yarn gave exactly the right gauge, so I started on one of the patterns.

It’s big and bright and very green, but so far I like it.

Vintage Green

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Spring!

That snow we had in my last post sure didn’t last long. By the next day, most of it was gone. It’s been in the 70’s for the last few days – beautiful enough for grilling and dining on the patio, and drinking lemonade on the front porch.

With spring comes yard cleanup, which has been keeping me busy for a few days. The garden is looking great with all of the crocus, daffodils, and violets in bloom.

crocus

Last year I planted a couple of varieties of dwarf narcissus. They’re so cute!

narcissus

But my little garden is nowhere near as spectacular as the ones at Red Butte Garden this year. I love going there for walks and enjoying whatever’s in bloom during the year:

spring bulbs

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First Snow Day

Barbie: What the heck is this white stuff? Have you been baking bread again? Last time you got flour all over the house.

Barbie Snow Day 1

Crystal: Yippee! It’s snowing! First real snow we’ve had all year! Watch me make a snow angel. I hope it snows enough for us to build a snowman.

Barbie Snow Day 2

Barbie: You want snow? I’ll book a one-way ticket to Boston for you. Stupid white stuff. I’m going to get my boots wet.

A couple of hours later…

Crystal: Look! It’s knee deep! Let’s go build that snowman!

Barbie Snow Day 3

Barbie: That’s not exactly the kind of man I’m interested in.

Crystal: Fine. I’ll just make my snow angel.

Barbie Snow Day 4

Barbie: Here, let me help you.

Barbie Snow Day 5

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Meals from the pantry

What do you make when you haven’t been to the store lately, and have to rely on whatever staples you have on hand?

I’ve posted about this before with a couple of my go-to recipes, but was reminded again today when I saw Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Spaghetti Pangrattato. Mmmm. Must try this soon.

 

 

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FO: Gathered Scarf

AKA: The Giant Tootsie Roll

Gathered Scarf

This was a good travel project – easy to just pick up and work on without needing a pattern, and small enough to be portable.

Gathered Scarf

Pattern: Gathered Scarf: Pattern page, Project Notes
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Superior, 2 balls (thanks, Cookie!)
Needles: 4mm and 3mm

Super soft, and nice and long so I can wrap it twice around my neck and still have nice tails.

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Rising from the ashes

Crystal: I’m Athena! Rising fully formed from the head of Zeus!

Athena Barbie

Barbie: You moron! You’re not Athena, and that’s the neck of a book fairy, not the head of Zeus. Now put on your dress. This is the last time I’m taking you to a toga party.

 

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Matched set

I finished the new Extra, out of the yummy cashmere yarn Kim overdyed for me. Since I had plenty of yarn, decided to make some matching headwear. There wasn’t really enough yarn for a hat, so instead I decided to make a headband – just enough to keep my ears warm.

I know – it’s a crazy idea. Handknit items that match.

Extra #2 and Mureena headband

The scarf is really squishy and soft – very cozy to wear. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll put buttons on it – for now, I’m just using a magnetic shawl pin.

The headband came out great – just the right size for me and my small head. The cashmere makes it really nice to wear.

Mureena

The headband is supposed to be closed with buttons, but another Ravelry member had the great idea to crochet an elastic hairband to the ends, giving it enough stretch to put it on easily. I loved the idea, so I did the same thing. It might end up a little too loose with wear, but if it does, I can always take the hairband off and do buttons.

Mureena

The pattern for the hairband is called Mureena, and it’s in Finnish. The main part was charted, but the first and last parts for the tapered ends just had written directions. Google Translate helped figure it out enough to let me do my own charts for the written parts (see my project page), and then it was a snap. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the Google translation of the instructions to crochet the button loops, so it’s just as well I didn’t do them anyway.

 

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Boiled and Baked

Despite the fact that an excellent Bagel shop recently opened within walking distance of my house (local peeps – definitely give it a try), I decided to make my own bagels. I guess having been sick for so long has really made me stir-crazy.

So I mixed and kneaded, and let the bagels rest:

Bagel dough resting

Then I boiled:

Bagels boiling

And baked (dark ones on the left are cinnamon/chocolate-chip):

Bagels cooling

Ahhh.

Sesame Bagel

This is the third time I’ve made them, and so far the best. I think all the recipes I’ve tried have been good. The recipe I used this time was more involved and required a two-day process, but I’m not really sure that’s the main reason. It was also the first time I used barley malt syrup, and I had a better idea of what the dough consistency should be like. I think if I made either of the other two recipes again, they’d be better than they were the first time – and in any case, they were ALL good. I’d have to really compare them all side by side to declare a winner.

 

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And onward

I am gradually pulling out of the sickhouse… at least in the past few days, I’ve felt a little better each day instead of worse. I hope that means there’s an end in sight, and I’ll finally be able to get out into the real world. Of course, with the crappy air quality we’ve had lately, it’s probably just as well that I’ve been house bound.

Anyway, since still not feeling quite up to snuff, but needing a new project, I decided to go with quick and easy, and nothing that requires much thought.

I’ve started another Extra, this time using very yummy cashmere which made it’s way to me via a couple of lovely people. Although the original periwinkle color is actually very flattering to my skin tone, it’s not a color I would normally wear. I considered making something for my mom, since she’d love the color and it would be smashing on her – but she rarely goes outside, so anything in bulky cashmere would most likely go unused. And the yarn is much too nice not to be worn.

So instead, I sent it to Kim at The Woolen Rabbit to overdye it for me, and she did a spectacular job (of course). We discussed a few options, and ended up going with a delicious rich, dark purple. Here are the before-and-after shots:

Jade Sapphire

It’s so amazingly soft and squishy worked up in the simple garter stitch. I’m sure I’m going to love being wrapped up in it.

Extra

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