Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gold and Green - and Vintage Aprons

Fall Loveliness

I took some pictures today as I was driving out to our new place.  Mostly to check the stream for spawning salmon.  Saw one, but didn't get my lense cap off in time :)

Even with an excessive amount of rain, it's pretty out here this time of year.  I love watching the clouds settle into the foothills.

At least all the natural beauty is helping to take my mind off the, um, unforseen difficulties on the new house, that we have not moved into YET!  But more on that later.

Oh How I love Vintage Aprons!

Here are some dandy aprons I thought I would share with you.  It is the month for all things orange, right?


I give unto you, Exhibit Orange.

A lovely, 70's brown and orange retro paisley print - with a smart touch - a dish towel sewn right in.

And better yet, nothing was wasted, the fringe on one end of the towel became pocket trim.  I love it!

And, the rest of Exhibit Orange:

Orange poofy tulle!  This dandy apron is even orange AND black. 

It's almost enough to make me think ' the good old days' really were better.  Though, as my Dad reminds me, outhouses were not much fun.  Guess you gotta be grateful for things like indoor plumbing.

Ahhh, so much for my romantic notions of the past today. 

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moving right along..........

It's final now.

Now that we have nearly remodeled our ENTIRE old house......

Of course, it is time to move on. 

We are moving into an ugly brown house and couldn't be happier about it.

Yep, this one is brown on the OUTSIDE, as well as much of the inside.

We have been searching for the right place for our energetic tribe for two years.

And then finally, it happened.

Down a country road.  Past the lady with the Dahlia farm and the fresh eggs for sale.  Up the hill a little, and we're there. 


Three acres of loveliness.  A sunny pasture.  A creek.  Lovely maple trees.  Blueberries.  Goldfish.  Wisteria climbing a trellis.  An old barn.  A quiet pond.

An opportunity for some childhood memories.  A magical place.

Every time I walk the grounds I notice some new plant, or some new thing.  A place where the water flows differently in the creek.  A frog.  The perfect tree.  A flower bush hidden from view.  A birdhouse. The smell of cedars. 

Our Home!

So, the house um, maybe needs a little, or well, let's be honest a LOT of TLC. Mostly in the um cosmetic department.  Might be 20 years of TLC before we're finished, but we'll eventually get there.

Some of you have expressed confidence in my decor and design abilities, and I thank you for that!  I think this house might present a challenge for even the great Martha :)

But, But............

I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you, again.

This journey, of turning a house into a home.

The good, the bad, and again, the ugly brown.

It's another brown house, inside and out. 

How I will miss my little old house and my little old neighborhood.

But for our family, this is a dream come true.

Oh my heart.  Thinking of it now takes me back to such happy childhood days of exploring and discovering.

If you keep your sense of wonder, and have a fun spirit, a part of you can be a child forever.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Three Fall Hats

Finally finished.  Three hat patterns I had been saving and waiting for a chance to knit.  My neice is the perfect model - since she looks cute in everything!  Thanks Alyssa :)

Sideways Grande Cloche

I love the side-braid detail.  Used Alpaca Chunky yarn from the Martha Stewart yarns line.

Star Crossed Slouchy Beret

This might be my most favorite yarn to knit with ever.  Malabrigo Twist, 100% baby merino wool.  The coloring on this yarn is stunning.

Side Slip Cloche

I have loved this pattern for so long!  It's truly unique, with a 1920's flapper-style  sophisticated ruffle on the side.  Again, I used a yarn from the Martha Stewart line, in a pewter tone to go with everything.

Coming soon - some vintage aprons for fall that I can't wait to show off...........Orange tulle and all.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fingerless Gloves


Time for some more cable-knitting

I made these, the Evenstar Gloves, for Naomi's 14th birthday.  This is a pattern inspired by The Lord of the Rings.  I LOVED the unique cable design. 

Many months ago, while we were looking through patterns on Ravelry, Naomi spotted these and was immediately drawn to them. She even told me she thought they would look lovely in a very pale blue.   They were a complete surprise :)

I had a little trouble with the left glove.  Well uh, let's be honest, I knit the right glove twice. Knitting late at night is not always a wise thing to do. Thank goodness for Elizabeth Zimmerman's thumb trick or 'afterthought thumb'.  I was able to cut open my knitting (EEEEK!) place the correct amount of stitches on my needles and knit a thumb in on the correct side. 

And though she looks pretty stinking adorable wearing them, I'm pretty sure  it was the Dr. Who shoes that my husband made for her that stole the show.

Naomi has always been such a unique and wonderful personality in our lives.  I'm so proud of her independent soul who's not afraid to own who she really is and what she loves.  Happy 14 Naomi!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Don't we all love FALL?  It's that time of year where all the sudden, I can't get enough of all things orange.

I even went out and bought myself some orange wool, and I'm dreaming right now of orange knitting projects like this one......

It's that time of year for our favorite FALL comfort food. 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I came across this recipe a few years ago at King Arthur Flour and seriously gasped when I saw it. 

I knew it was my destiny to make them.  And many, many batches later, I can tell you they are seriously divine. 

I do a few things a little different than the recipe says, (who doesn't) so I thought I'd share a little tutorial. The few little tweaks end up making a huge difference.

So here goes.......

Get all your ingredients out, plus some butter (get it to room temp), The recipe doesn't call for butter in the filling, only the dough, but I'll explain that in a few seconds.

Don't worry, you won't need THAT much butter :)

Mix your basic dough pretty much as the recipe says.  If you're using SAF instant yeast, you can just dump all your ingredients into your bowl or your mixer EXCEPT your water. 

I don't know if it's living in the humid Pacific Northwest, or if it's my house, or what, but I ALWAYS end up needing a lot more flour than every recipe calls for.  Is it me?  I don't know, but I always hold back more than half of my liquid measure, mix everything else, and then slowly add in a little liquid at a time, until the dough is the right consistency.  Be sure of course though, to err on the side of wetter than dryer when it comes to dough....

Properly Kneaded (meaning almost always more kneading than you think you need to) you should end up with this wonderful orange-colored, silky dough.

Okay, just a warning, this dough smells truly amazing.  It's like the best of two favorite smells combined: cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pie. 

After the first rise, you'll be ready to shape your rolls.  Don't. 

At least not yet.  Always rest the dough on your worktable for 12 minutes before you roll them out.  Instead of fighting the dough, it'll roll out beautifully.

I 'rest' the dough on my work surface (sprayed with a little Pam first) and cover it with a plastic bag for awhile so the dough can relax.

Then it's time to shape.  Something about the pumpkin puree in the dough makes it feel velvety and very extensible.  Shape as you need to fit whatever size pan you have.

Here's the substituation part of the recipe.  King Arthur wants you to buy their Baker's Cinnamon Filling.  They give you the sugar/cinnamon substitution, but don't tell you that you're gonna need some butter on those rolls first. 

So, instead of the Baker's Cinnamon Filling, mix 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, plus 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. 

Spread 1/2 cup of butter over your dough rectangle and then sprinkle on your spices.

No need for anything special to purchase. 

Then you'll lay them out onto a buttered sheet pan to rise.  I found these awesome plastic covers for half sheet pans at a restaurant supply store here in Bellevue, so they proof in a perfect humid environment. 

If you don't have one of those, you can put the entire pan inside of a plastic garbage sack poofed over your rolls. 

Now they are soft, and touching each other.  Time to BAKE!

I bake these differently than the recipe calls for.  It's my preference for ooey gooey soft cinnamon rolls.  So I preheat my oven to 325 instead of 375.

Then I bake for a total of 25 minutes (depending on the size of the rolls) and tent them with foil after the first 10 minutes, to keep them from over-browning. 

I pull them out when they are 'just' cooked through, or if we are serving them more than an hour after we bake them I pull them out 'just underdone.'

Our favorite topping for these is just a simple cream-cheese frosting. 

Here's the final breakdown:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (AKA, Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls from King Arthur)

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup lukewarm water (hold some back)
1/4 cup soft butter
2 1/2 cups Unbleached All-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat flour
1/4 cup Dry milk or nonfat dry milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup butter


Mix all dough ingredients together, holding back your water and adding a little at a time as needed.  Knead.  Cover and rise 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly greased surface.  Roll into a rectangle.  Spread butter evenly over your dough, leaving one edge clean.  Sprinkle your spice/sugar mix over the butter.  Roll up tightly, and use a serrated knife to cut your rolls (or dental floss.)

Place your rolls into a buttered pan, and let them rise for another hour, or until puffy.

Bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes, tenting foil over the top after the first 10 minutes.  Then spread cream-cheese frosting of your choice over the top.

Oh yeah! I am relishing every moment of this FALL season.