Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cooking Through the Kimchi Chronicles

I love to watch the Today show in the morning. Having it on in the background as I pick up the house, start the day, and work on pattern and projects keeps me in touch with a variety of topics. Late last year I saw a segment with the author of The Kimchi Chronicles. My hubby and I used to love our local Korean restaurant, but it closed several years ago. I was intrigued by the segment and book (and there is a tv series on PBS). We bought an ebook version of the book and decided to make one recipe from the book each week.

Off PK went to our Asian market. After LOTS of time in the store he found someone who could point him in the right direction and translate the labels. He came home with all the staples we would need and I have to say it was really cheap. Two bags of stuff for $25, and all of it would last us months and months for our recipes. Our first dish was the BBQ chicken with eggplant...amazing. I can't wait to try this one on the outside grill. I think it will just improve the taste. After that, I get a little fuzzy on the order. We have tried the fish pancakes, pork stir fry, and homemade kimchi. We haven't tried anything that we didn't love and many of the dishes have entered the regular rotation.



Then, we tried the seafood stew. YUMMY and BEAUTIFUL! The resulting broth of the soup was so yummy and great for your sinuses, too. If you are someone who likes Korean food or wants to try and be more adventurous, go out and get this book. If you don't have an Asian market near you, we have found ordering off of Amazon to be a great option.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review of Brava Worsted from Knit Picks

I love merino wool. I love soft wool. However, wool doesn't always love me. Sometimes, I end up turning to cotton or acrylics because of allergies and such. I know that some knitters/crocheters swear by wool. I just simply cannot because my body rejects it. So I'm always on the lookout for alternative yarns that will perform well and be SOFT. The recent launch of Knit Picks Brava got my attention because of the yardage, price, and colors. I read some online reviews that raved about how soft it is. I have a new design in my head that would require a lot of yardage, colors, and easy care. So, I put together an order and waited for the box to arrive.

The colors are so nice and vibrant! Each ball is 219 yards and it is SO soft. Retailing at $2.99 a ball, you really cannot beat the price. Often times I find acrylic to be like working, well, with plastic. Does this feel like wool, no. Am I happy to crochet with it? Yep. With the softness and machine wash and dry instructions it is a no brainer for baby, pet, home items, and gifts.

Stay tuned for the release of my new pattern in a few months!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh my...

Kennedy has started standing on Riley's back. I caught her twice in the span of 20 hours. He just acts like it is nothing. I feel somewhat like I should make her stop, but I suppose if it bothered him he would move or at least give her an evil doggy look and growl. They do make for some pretty cute pictures!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome Home, Little Plants!

This past weekend we were out and about and decided to stop in our local nursery on our way home. It is in a very convenient location as it is at the start of the road to our house. They had a sign up advertising their house plant sale of 30 to 70% off. Excellent! After looking around for a bit and peppering the helpful staff with questions, I settled on these four new additions to our home.


Norfolk Pine...I wanted to get one of these after noticing my MIL and a friends. I also wanted a tall tree like plant for the corner of the plant room (commonly called Riley's room in our home as he loves to sleep in there). Isn't it pretty?

Aloe plant...reminds me of ones my mom, grandma, and great aunt had when I was a kid.

Hoya plant...This will probably be known in our house as Kennedy's plant. After I bragged on the blog that the dogs show zero interest in the plants, that little stinker went crazy sniffing this plant. It is listed on the ASPCA site as safe for dogs, so at least she picked a safe one to find intriguing. I love the curly nature of this plant.

Ming fern...Wispy and fun!

I also found out that the plant I couldn't identify earlier is a hypoestes. Mystery solved!!! I was told they are sometimes called the polka dot plant. The nice lady was also able to confirm I correctly identified all the other plants I have. I was all proud of myself! She gave me a quick air plant tutorial and I can't wait to put one of those together and a terrarium. Dropped a hint to PK that those would be great Valentine's gifts that are pretty cheap, too! We also picked up a few bulbs to try some paper whites. These are in the warmest and sunniest spot in PK's office to force them to bloom. Then they will be our kitchen table centerpiece. 



What are your favorite house plants? I'm working on building a jungle!!!! But, it sure helps to pass the cold winter days...



Friday, January 20, 2012

Time for a Dog Blog



Riley being super cute...

And these are dark, but J and E got the dogs Christmas gifts. They LOVE them and have been fighting over them constantly...just like kids...



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Squiggle Hat Finds a Home

Also in E's stocking was her squiggle hat. As I originally feared, it was snug, but I think she will get some use out of it over the next month or so. According to mommy, she got lots of compliments on a trip to IKea.


I just love her little nose and lips!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hey Little Sister!

Back in March I blogged about making the Little Sister Dress/Vest. It was one of the items in Miss E's stocking, so I finally get to share a picture of her modeling it. She is 9 months in this picture, so I was right on with the original post that said even though I used the 6 month instructions, I was a little off on gauge and thought it would be more like 9 months. I love that because it buttons at the top, it can be a dress for a bit and then worn as a top as she grows. 


Don't you just love her fuzzy hair?!?

Pattern: Little Sister (free download in Ravelry); not my design
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Milled Wine
US Needle: 3
Size: Followed 6 month directions but it is more of a 9 to 12 month size

From the original post: I started this on a Tuesday at knit night and finished by lunch on Thursday. I was really tight on yarn, so I used my handy dandy yarn scale to measure of how much I had left. I figured it took 3 yards to knit one row and the bottom. In fingering weight yarn, 1 gram is 4.4 yards. So, as I worked I knew exactly how many rows I could squeak out. If you don't have a yarn scale, I highly suggest investing in one. Santa purchased mine from Knit Picks. It measures in both grams and ounces and has a conversion on the back to help you figure out the yardage per yarn weight. So nice to have!

When I first finished the Little Sister it was the same size as the Sock to Frock dress. Then, I blocked them both, and you can see how much longer the Sock dress grew in the skirt area due to the ribbing. I thought I'd include the layered picture to show how much of a difference blocking can make!

Back to the Little Sister pattern...this is a great concept because the little girl can wear it as a dress and then when they grow up a bit, wear it as a vest. I used some silk buttons from my button stash. They don't match perfectly in color, but I liked that because it added character and depth. I'm also on a mission to use some of these buttons I've collected so that I can buy more!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Giraffe for E

One of the major projects I worked on in 2011 was a giraffe for E as her main Christmas gift. I started this project in the summer and then worked on it here and there until November. It was a labor of love as I ended up making 18 pieces total. He turned out super cute and I'm really happy with how she looks and that E seems to like her.




Yarn: Plymouth Jeanne Worsted
Needles: US 5
Pattern: Itty Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson


Here she is with her new buddy. I only stuffed it with fiberfill so the giraffe is nice and soft and ready for hugs. I did use the straws for the horns as suggested in the pattern. I didn't really make any modifications except that I put some extra poms and dots on to balance out my particular giraffe. I know several other knitters who made this guy. One used a washable wool and one used a cotton. The yarn I used is a cotton/acrylic blend. I'm really happy that I went this route. The yarn is holding nicely and there is not a scratch factor. As you can see from the picture, this is not a tiny animal! I hope that E and whatever she decides to name her giraffe have many fun years together. I'm on to making some other toys from this great book. As with all of Susan's books, they are a must in my opinion!

Friday, January 13, 2012

CLEARANCE!!!

We are having a BABY, IT IS COLD OUTSIDE Clearance sale at the Brownie Knits Etsy shop. Stop by and check out the select items on clearance. Some great deals are waiting for you!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BrownieKnits

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Final Christmas

This past weekend we had one final Christmas celebration, along with a birthday party for nephew J.


They boys had fun hanging out together. Lots of cousin love!


Patrick got Pete's name in the sibling drawing and we got him wine. I got a chuckle out of J helping to open that package. He lost interest after ripping off the paper!


J and E in their matching hats. E's was a little short (even though I made it 2 rows longer than the pattern instructed!). So, it came home with me to fix it up and mail it back. I can't wait to see some of Meg's pictures of them in their matching hats.


Total accident picture, but my fav of the day! A well-timed yawn looks like Pete is ready to eat E's head!


E in her squiggle hat. Pretty snug, but I think she'll be okay for the month of January at least.


E seemed to find her petticoat interesting. Can't wait to see the photo shoot of this one either. She also received a few knitted dresses I made last year and tons of clothes from Grandma and Grandpa. She is going to be one well-dressed little girl over the next few months. I don't know how mama will select which outfit each day.


Katie received a Colvin hat as one of her gifts. I secretly hope that the weather stays so nice and warm that she won't get to use it for a bit.


It was the year of the hat! Patrick in his stylish new cap from Katie.


These two snapshots were the pictures of the day. The Kanouse kids...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What a Slouch Hat Available on Knit Picks

I'm very excited that Knit Picks IDP has picked up my latest design. You can see the information and purchase the pattern download from the Knit Picks site here. It is knitted using Knit Picks Swish Worsted in three different colors. This is a fantastic machine washable yarn that knits up with great stitch definition, is soft to the touch, and NOT scratchy at all. I love to use it for kids items, blankets, and everyday items. It washes easily and doesn't pill or anything.



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gina's House of Plants

One of my goals this year that I forgot to put in my 2012 list earlier is to set up a little indoor garden and keep the plants living and healthy! For the first time in my life, I really enjoyed my plants in 2011 and kept them green and healthy. This year I want to expand my garden. I also think it will help to brighten up the winter months that I dread so much. Off to Lowe's I went to hit up the clearance plant area from the leftover Christmas plant gifts. (I had heard about this online in a plant forum and boy are they right! I found several for $1 to $3 and a large planter for $5. When you don't know if you will kill the plant or not, it is nice not to have to invest much! I was a little worried that they might be ready to die plants, but they were all in great shape.)



The cast of characters includes:
Spider plant that from my MIL
Orchid
Purple Waffle
Christmas Cactus
Sago Palm
Bromeliad
Luseane Scheflerra

So far I have repotted them with some fertilizer, identified them all, and put them in their new locations. I have also learned that the Purple Waffle is a demanding little guy. He requires LOTs of water or else he starts to collapse and the little leaves feel paper thin. With watering they stiffen up and feel 5 times thicker to the touch. I also learned that the Sago Palm is poisonous to pets, so I have it away from them and will be sure to keep high from any children, too. This also led me down a path of researching what I want my next plants to be and where to put them so that we all stay safe. (I will say that my dogs show 0% interest in my living plants, but they sniff my fake floral arrangement in the half bath on a regular basis. So much so that we named it Riley's flowers. What is up with that?)



This pathos I got about 1 1/2 years ago and it is going nuts!





My bargain bin planter fits nicely in the wrought iron plant stand I found on my visit to my mom. It's like this planter was made for this window. It LOVES this location. Perked right up and has happily been growing along...I'm amazed at how much in just a week. It has a Dracaena (the tall one), but I'm not so sure about the other three. Anybody have suggestions? I was wondering if the light green one is an arrowhead plant and the dark green with a yellow center either a dieffenbachia, pothos, or hosta? I haven't found anything on the small green with white spots one. I'd love any help you all can offer as I learn my way through.

Along with my various spider plants, the house feels fresher and less like a dreary winter grey. I have a huge list of plants I want to try out so that when I am in a bargain bin and hunting around, I can pick from this list. What plants do you love?

My "Famous" Models


My little dogs on the wall of the month at the vet's office. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Knitter's Holiday

We scaled back our gift giving a lot this year so that we could do home improvements and save some. But, I still got some fantastic knitter's gifts!


Signature Needles!!! It's okay to plan your projects around the needle size, right? :)


Some fun sheep stitch markers arrived in the stocking...


Yarn Ball Spinner from Kerri Shank's Etsy Store


Sheep in Ireland from Lastof9Designs Etsy shop run by my friend Mary. She has beautiful photography of all sorts if you are looking for artwork. (For those of you who read the blog regularly, this year was my year to search for the pickle ornament on the tree. This framed art was my reward. Pickle gifts are always remembered around our house as the special gift from that Christmas. Gotta start shopping/thinking about the pickle gift for next year as it is my turn to buy it.)

I also received some honey for my herbal tea and a KnitIdiot tea cup. You can imagine that in the days after Christmas I was curled up on the couch with my tea and some yarn and needles.