Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The hat looks as if it has rows of eyelet... similar to the border I put on my GAA and also similar to a baby sweater I made before. Here's a photo of the baby sweater to which I am referring (I really love this little lavender sweater):
Sat down with my yarn and needles this morning, and here's what I came up with.
There are three rows of eyelet on this hat but the it's hard to make out the "eyelet" on the row in the center in dark purple. I learned a lot making this hat. I really like the look of the eyelet on this hat only I think I would like it better if the hat had more rows of eyelet instead of the little rows of "v's" in contrasting color. I have never made anything with two different colored yarns at once so that was a learning experience as well. I like how the decreases look on a stripey hat as you work your way to the top of the crown!
Sorry the photos are not a bit better. It's late here so I had to be my own photographer with the camera at arm's length.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR ENLARGED VIEW
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This is a super fun and really quick pattern. The instructions are fantastic. I am actually knitting another pair right now with some yarn left over from my GAA. For the socks I knit above, I did decreases on every toe round. I was running out of yarn and had to dig through my afghan yarn to find scrap lengths of green yarn to piece into these socks just so I could finish them with yarn from the same dye lot... Yep, cutting it close again! This is where the socks will go:
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I used the remainder of my Cascade 220 Superwash Paint yarn this week. No kidding, I probably had less than one yard of yarn remaining when I bound off this project! Phew, that was cutting it close! I actually was following a pattern for a cable stitch hat but it soon became apparent I would NOT have enough yarn! I'll have to buy more yarn so I can make an entire hat... it's a cute pattern!
Design from pattern called "3AM Cable Hat" from http://www.smariek.blogspot.com/
With the Bake-Off going on this week, I could not help but reminisce about how much fun my Mom and I had at the Bake-Off two years ago. I was totally tickled when I came home today to find a a nice letter and a package full of goodies from the folks at Pillsbury. It included the cookbook with all of this year's Bake-Off recipes, an apron from Eagle Brand, a pot holder from Crisco, pencil and Post-it notes from Smuckers, and the squishy foam peanut from Jif, as well as an assortment of coupons.
In case you were wondering, I did submit recipes for this year's Bake-Off. I hads loads of ideas, but just couldn't bring myself to work them all up. Suddenly it seemed like so much stress and pressure and work. I told my sister how I was feeling and she said, "You don't have to send any recipes in... you can just wait until another year!" It was so liberating. At the very last minute (the night before the contest closed) I sent in the recipe for this pie. I was pretty proud of this recipe for "Kiwi Lime Pie" but honestly, I think it was a bit better with a graham cracker crust, as oppossed to a flakey pastry crust. Of course I used a Pillsbury crust when I submitted the recipe.
I submitted another recipe for a Cajun-inspired quiche... made with eggs, evaporated milk, celery, onion, bell pepper, andouille sausage, pepper jack cheese, and cayenne pepper for some kick. That recipe probably could have used a bit more work. Hmmmm, maybe next Bake-Off! The gears are turning in my brain now.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Chances are, you don't keep track of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but I've been pretty excited today knowing it's going on! In early 2007, I entered a recipe in the Pillsbury Bake-Off on a whim. What the heck... you can't win if you don't enter, right? When August 2007, rolled around and I was de-cluttering my house a bit, I stumbled across my recipe and threw it in the trash. I figured if they hadn't called me yet, certainly they had not picked my recipe. After all, for every Bake-Off held, they receive "tens of thousands" of recipe submissions. A few weeks later, I just about died when I "got the call" at work, telling me I was a finalist in the Bake-Off in Dallas, Texas, in April 2008. It was a whirlwind... an opportunity of a life time. I enjoyed every moment but it was especially great because my mom accompanied me to Dallas for the Bake-Off and we had a fantastic time. Here are a few snap shots from the Bake-Off two years ago (the photos are in a very random order).
My mom with Keegan Gearhard. He's a celebrity from The Food Network show called "Food Network Challenge"... I guess you would say he's the host or the Emcee of the challenges featured on the Food Network... cake challenges, sugar challenges, etc. He saw my mom and offered to pose with her for a picture; she had no idea who he was but she went along with it!
My completed recipe on the display table. Phew! I was done. You have to make your recipe at least two times; once for the judges and the second time for this display table. You are given ingredients to make your recipe three times in the allotted time period.
All 100 mini-kitchens ready to go on Orientation Day. The folks on the ballroom floor in this photo were all contest people from General Mills/Pillsbury... not finalists. We had Orientation in the ballroom the day before the Bake-Off and the room temperature was super cold! They turned the temperature down low so the next day during the Bake-Off, when 100 people cranked up their ovens, the room would still be a tolerable temperature. Funny, huh?
Me standing in front of the display table. Yipee, I was done! I was exhilarated but pooped!
Look at us all cooking away. While we cooked, we had runners from Pillsbury/General Mills to help us out and escort us to the judges with our prepared dishes. We also had photos taken in a photography booth, posing with our completed recipe.
Me and my mom having lunch right after the Bake-Off. Do I look tired!? I am holding my prized possession... my hot pads from the Bake-Off floor! I still have them in my kitchen!
Last day of the Bake-Off... dressed up for the Awards Ceremony. The hotel had these poster boards with great photos of our completed dishes. I am pointing to my dish... center column, second row down from the top.
Mom and I are all dressed up for the super fancy Welcome Dinner.
My friend, Tracy, took this photo of me... practicing my recipe in my kitchen at home.
A kitchen mock-up in the hotel. Contest winners won GE appliances.
Recognize this lady? It's Sandra Lee from the Food Network. She was the hostess at the Awards Ceremony.
The Pillsbury Doughboy and me!
Late tomorrow morning sometime, the $1 Million prize will be awarded. It should be posted on the Pillsbury site.... I am anxious to see who the big winner is! And if you are wondering... No, I did not win any of the prizes at the Bake-Off when I was there, but just being there was amazing. If you'd like to see my original recipe, here is the link:
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I am done with my Fruity Pebbles Hat. I am not thrilled with how it looks on me but I had a blast making it! I finished off the top with four little I-cords sort of coiled together to make an interesting looking top-knot. I did complete one earflap since the pattern called for ear flaps but my husband said they looked "dorky" so I removed the earflap. I think I will be in search of a new hat pattern since I had to adjust this one so much. If these photos look a little goofy, it's because I took them myself with my camera at arm's length. I really should get back to my GAA... time to stitch it all together!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Remember the cereal called "Fruity Pebbles"? For some reason, the colors in this yarn reminds me of Fruity Pebbles cereal so I am calling this my "Fruity Pebbles Hat". This is the same patttern I used for Ginger's hat which I found on http://www.alarmingfemale.com/. I finished the crown of this hat after I took this photo and the hat is too tall and too pointy for my tiny little head (my head is the only petite portion of my body... hee, hee!), so I've ripped back all of the decrease rows and am reworking the cap. Unlike Ginger's hat, I am adding ear flaps. I hope I like it. I love working with this yarn. I am using more Cascade 220 Superwash yarn, just like I am using for my Great American Afghan (which... by the way, still needs to be stitched together!) I should mention that I am not exactly following Alarming Female's pattern. Her version calls for just three rows of seed stitch but I used about 10 rows of seed stitch followed by one row of purl stitch before starting in on the stockinette portion. I thought the yarn looked great in seed stitch, so I just stuck with it until it created a nice rim for the hat. The hat ear flaps are also done in seed stitch.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Here is the link:
Monday, April 5, 2010
Finally I asked, "What!? What is it?!" He said, "you should have listened to me mom!" I knew he was right because as I was stitching things together I noticed I had two really dark squares together... it looked terrible. I unstitched the two dark blocks and then I decided to unstitch all of them... did I tell you? That was 10 blocks to unstitch and hours of work! Argh!!!! I stacked them all up and, as I walked away, I told my son, "Go crazy! Figure it out! I am over it! I've looked at it too much and I just can't figure it out!" I took a shower, put on my jammies, and then sat in a chair as my son CAREFULLY and THOUGHTFULLY went to work.
He started with the Spiraling Square in the center and then made an "X" with the two diagonals reaching to the far four corners. The two blocks with duplicate stitch, Happy Anniversary square and Son's square, are opposite of each other on the diagonal. The colorful Under the Sea and Three Trees squares are also opposite one another on the diagonal. He proceeded to organize the squares by color. He set to work by alternating the blocks not only by color and value (light v.s. dark) but he also explained that some blocks had up and down (vertical) design elements while other blocks had designs which were more centered, so he arranged them so this element would alternate as well.
Yes! A thousand times YES! I should have listened to him! Sure hope I don't sound like one of "those moms"... who just go on and on about their brilliant children... but I tell ya, my son blew me away.
He raided my stash (actually yarn from my Mom's stash... thanks Grandma!) and I showed my son a photo from a pattern I've been eyeing... it's an ear flap hat pattern I found on a website called http://www.alarmingfemale.com/. She has a few free patterns on her blog. This is what we came up with.
I suppose I should explain "Ginger". While in middle school, my son's been nicknamed "Ginger". It actually comes from the cartoon "South Park" (the show LOOKS like something for kids since the characters are kids and it's a cartoon... but trust me... it's not... it's a terrible show... but I digress). On "South Park" people with red hair and freckles are called "Gingers". Instead of being offended or getting all bent out of shaped and feeling teased, my son embraced the nickname and he obviously really gets a kick out of it. He even had a New England Patriot's hoodie personalized with this football number and "Ginger" proudly displayed on the back. I think this says a lot about my son's sense of humor, his resilience, his attitude... all qualities I like about him. He's also got a really funny sense of humor. So that explains this hat!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Despite my mistake, the muffins were still slightly sweet... the coconut and grated carrot I presume. The streusel-like topping was super yummy. I will definitely make these muffins again with the brown sugar IN the batter. I did substitute toasted pecans for the toasted walnuts and I used just 1% milk. Next time I make these, I will use some unsweetened applesauce in place of some of the oil, too. I found the unsweetened coconut at the health food store; it has a much dryer consistency compared to the sticky, sweet coconut you find at the grocery store. I made 12 muffins which have great tops and I baked them for only 20 minutes.
I think they are the prettiest muffins I've ever made. My husband must have thought so too, because when I woke up this morning, I saw he had eaten one of these muffins when he came home late from work last night. I will be very curious to know his opinion of these muffins. I do a lot of baking just for me (to stock the freezer) since my husband and son are rather picky and they don't care for the more wholesome things I make. Maybe he'll say they were terrible and think it was an April Fool's joke! We'll see! [UPDATE: Hubby just woke up and he mentioned to me he had a muffin last night. I asked what he thought and he said he LIKED them. I told him about THE BROWN SUGAR fiasco and then considered telling him about the wholesome ingredients and why I am so surprised he liked the muffin, but then I decided against it... knowing he'd refuse to eat another muffin once he learned they contained CARROTS (gasp!) and COCONUT (eeewwww!) Then I offered to make him some eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast and asked if he wanted toast. I almost fell over when he said, "I'd like a muffin!"] Enough said... you must try out these muffins... link follows.
We had one night out on the town in Las Vegas. We decided on a show which was billed as the Ultimate Variety Show and it plays at the "V" Theatre in the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. It included an emcee who was a talented and super funny juggler, some strong and flexible Russian acrobats, a magician, some aerialists, and many other acts. We enjoyed the show immensely and it really was a highlight of our trip. When you are in Las Vegas, you have to see the dancing fountains outside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. They are especially dramatic at nighttime. The area of the strip in front of the Bellagio is lined with sound speakers, so folks stop to listen and watch. I just took three or four short videos. The videos above and below should give you a glimpse of what it's like. I bet if you venture onto www.YouTube.com, you'd find lots of videos of the Bellagio's fountains.
When we were recently playing "tourist" in Las Vegas, we ventured into the fancy Bellagio Hotel and Casino. We visited the box office to see about tickets to the Cirque de Soleil production "O". Since it would have been $350.00 to $500.00 for our family to attend, we decided against it; however, the trip to the Bellagio not a waste. As we exited the hotel, we were drawn to this sun filled room with a huge, soaring glass-domed ceiling. It was filled by what must be a giant's garden; almost like something out of a fairy tail. You see the over-sized garden trowel in the distance. Whoops, looks like someone tipped over a yellow clay pot and now the flowers are spilling out.
The garden is speckled with over-sized snails, mushrooms, bees, butterflies, and daffodils.
Water elegantly gushes over this globe. In the foreground, you can see huge flower boxes filled with bulbs. I would have loved the have been there when the tulips started to bloom. The scent would probably be amazing. The room is filled with these boxes of tulip bulbs on the verge of blooming. I noticed in some of these photos, you can see a few daffodils in bloom.
Working as a gardener at the Bellagio might be a fun job. Could you imagine how they decorate this space at Christmastime.
I was so distracted by the wonderful, sunny garden room, that I did not notice the floor until I was racing to catch up to my family. These are true, amazing, incredibly detailed mosaic-tile designs embedded in the floor. Both the floral designs and the geometric designs are made of very tiny 1/4 to 1/2 inch tiles. The Bellagio is all about the details!