washcloths for us

Remember I told you I found a replacement for the washcloth yarn I loved so much? Well this is it! Araucania Ulmo Multy is 100% cotton and feels just as lovely to wash with as the skinny dyed cotton. I don’t normally go for multicoloured yarns but this one jumped out at me in the skein. At least they are all colours I would like individually? It also comes in solid colours, which I picked up once I knew how much I loved washing with this yarn. One skein of this cotton produced 3 waffle washcloths. They are a welcome addition to our kitchen AND are the first knits i’ve ever kept for myself and not given away as a gift. So far, they are very loved. Ravelry Link Here.

– Jenna

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a present for my grandma

Well, I promised I would share what became of my pile of Christmas yarn and now that my presents are all done I thought it might be time to post! We’ll start with my sweet Grandma. This pattern isn’t completely a first for me. It was one of my favourites on Ravelry when I first joined, but every time I tried it I would have to pay such close attention to the pattern that inevitably i’d mess it up and end up making my own patterns to make up for a mistake. Now, a whole year later I can finally hold this pattern in my head (it’s amazing the difference just a year can make) and could finally make my Grandma the washcloths I wanted to make her last year! Just for the record, instead of making these last year I made her a warm winter cowl so she wasn’t exactly deprived of a hand knit gift.

I do have to admit though, I didn’t make all of these myself! In fact I really only made the white one. Because we were making so many knitted gifts this year, Tristan pitched in on a couple of them so that they would actually get done in time for the holidays. This was one of the ones he helped with. I think that was nice for my Grandma though, getting a gift that was made by both of us.

The yarn we used was Blue Sky Skinny Dyed Organic Cotton. I love love love this yarn for washcloths. Using a washcloth made from a quality cotton is pure luxury. I had actually bought a bunch of skeins last year so I already had the colours I wanted to use for Grandma. Now there is just enough yarn for about 5 more cloths, which I will eventually make for us. The only sad part is that the store I bought this cotton from stopped purchasing it! I bought up as much as I could when it went on sale. Luckily this boxing day I found a replacement that I love as equally, and will post about that soon.

The pattern I used is by Debbie Andriulli, posted on her ‘homespun living’ blog here: http://homespunliving.blogspot.com/2007/11/waffle-knit-dishcloth-pattern.html My Ravelry link is here

I know dishcloths probably aren’t number one on anyone’s wishlist (except maybe mine) but I personally think they make such a great gift because washing with these cloths are so wonderful, and who doesn’t need a little spice in their everyday chores?  – Jenna



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Italian Almond Macaroons

Being back at work I’m finding it hard to stay on top of all my crafting. I’ve been knitting a row here and pinning back hems on sewing projects there but getting to the final result has been a bit slower now. However, I’m still finding the time to bake and cook. I feel less overwhelmed when thinking of a batch of cookies to make as I know I could have them done in only a few hours. It’s also something Owen loves to join in on. Of course Owen also loves to help out when I’m sewing or knitting, however in those cases I don’t exactly get much sewing or knitting actually done. I tell ya its hard to sew a straight line with a toddler crawling in your back! So here’s a favorite recipe of mine, hope you enjoy!

Italian Almond Macaroons

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 16-oz. package of finely ground almond meal flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar

1. Beat egg whites until foamy in a large bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, extract and salt; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.

2. Preheat oven to 300F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Press almonds with your fingers to break into smaller pieces. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch crescents and roll in almonds; place on baking sheets.

3. Bake for 20 minutes for softer macaroons or 30 minutes for firmer macaroons (we did 20 minutes). Dust with powdered sugar one cooled.

These are delish! Enjoy!

-April

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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

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the unexplainable joy of homemade pasta

I can’t begin to describe the feeling in my belly when I ate this pasta for the first time. I’m not talking about the lightness of the fresh pasta or the taste of olive oil. It is the joy that I am referring to. I couldn’t stop saying “i’m so happy”, between bite after bite of what can only be described as bliss in the form of a noodle. If you think i’m exaggerating, try it yourself.

I have mentioned before that we bought our pasta machine in the fall, and haven’t gotten around to using it yet. After making bread for the first time it only seemed fitting to continue on the homemade road and make our own pasta. Our good friend Lana who is a huge fresh pasta lover came over to help us make it. We decided to try two different gluten free recipes that she found, using millet flour in one and quinoa flour in the other. We made this is with caution knowing it might not be what we were expecting, but in the end we proved ourselves quite wrong. Both recipes were beyond delicious and it was hard to stop eating even after our plates were cleaned. You would have had no idea that they were gluten free either. Contributing to the taste was the sense of accomplishment that comes from making pasta yourself for the very first time.

I was so in love with this pasta that I couldn’t wait to make it again. I made it the next day in perfect timing for our friends Justin, Jaimie and baby Layla to arrive home after 3 weeks in Cape Breton. They wouldn’t want to be cooking that night so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at the pasta again and so this time I went it alone. It only took me 1.5 hours to make two recipes from scratch into beautiful thin noodles. I will most definitely be making this again and probably often.

The recipes we used were a gluten free millet pasta which you can find here: http://realsustenance.com/recipes/gluten-free-millet-pasta/ and a gluten free quinoa pasta that you can find here: http://www.grain-free-gluten-free.com/quinoa-pasta.html

As a dressing we used extra virgin olive oil and pecorino cheese, combined with pesto, mushrooms and onions. I have to say though, I would even eat this pasta with olive oil alone.

If you’ve ever been curious about making your own pasta, just try it. It seems like such a simple thing but it was an amazing experience. It is really fun to make with friends, and I hope we can do so with our compadres soon!

– Jenna

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january bread

The first two loaves of bread we made got gobbled up before I could photograph them, but I did manage to get some pictures of this third and delicious loaf. My favourite way to enjoy it – covered in olive oil. I am so excited about the many more to come!

My first post about making this bread and the link to the recipe: http://mycomadre.ca/happy-2011/

– Jenna

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Corners of our home

I wanted to share with you all a few corners of our home. Since the holidays we have had to do some re-arranging around the house to accommodate for some new things. First we had to make room for Owen’s new play kitchen. Thanks to my wonderful Mother, Owen has now been cooking up a storm. Thank you so much Grandma for this beautiful heirloom, I am sure it will stay in our family for generations to come.

Since we ended up moving Owen’s table to make room for his new kitchen we now had to find a new space for his table. I though next to the water jug could be nice since he could soon learn to get water for himself and its also closer to the dinning room table and so he can actually see us now when having his snack or lunch at his own table. Also for Christmas Owen got his very first sketch pad from his very own Nina. Thank you so much Nina for such a thoughtful and creative gift. We’ve been having a great time coloring in it with the new crayons you got him. He’s also really into stickers at the moment so we’ve been playing a lot with those in there too.

Lastly, we finally got some coat hooks up by the door. I’ve only taken photographs of Owen’s coat hooks but right above his is ours, which was actually a gift from my sister, whom spent Christmas here in our home with her two kids this year. Thank you so much sister for finally inspiring me to get Owen’s own little coat hooks up. So far he’s been having a great time taking his coast off to get ready to go out, as well as picking out which shoes he wants to wear but he’s not showing much interest in actually hanging up his coat or putting away his shoes once back inside. Something we will have to work on.

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this moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you all a peaceful and beautiful weekend.

-April

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winter soup

bluebirdbaby is a blog I read regularly, Erin is the author and a few days ago I was reading through her blog when I came accross a soup recipe but didn’t think too much more about it at the time. However, only a couple of days later Sal came down with a pretty bad cold and this soup emidiatly came to mind. I went out to the market, collected the ingredients we were missing and surprisingly it was a very quick soup to whip up and delishious too. This is definately becoming a winter staple in our home, thank you Erin! Bellow is the soup recipe from Erin’s blog which again can be found here .

Nourshing Soup for Winter Days ::

  • 10-12 cps broth (we used chicken)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 medium leek, sliced and chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced (yes…one WHOLE head. it’s good for ya!)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced and halved
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed (we used 4)
  • 1.5 cup peas
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 lb ground chicken, cooked (we used some grilled chicken from the night before)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. I think butter makes everything taste better, so I heated a half stick of butter in the bottom of a soup pot. When that is hot, add leeks. Cook until tender.
  2. Add minced garlic to leeks and stir. Do not let brown.
  3. Add broth, bay leaf, carrots and potatoes. Let boil, then simmer until all are tender.
  4. While the soup is cooking, cook the chicken in a frying pan. (We already had grilled chicken from the night before and so simply used that).
  5. When the veggies in the soup are tender, add chicken, peas, white beans, and thyme.
  6. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
  7. Serve with fresh bread.

Enjoy!

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twin button hats

A lot of people in my family knit. My grandmas were both knitters, my husband knits, his parents both knit.. and my mom knits. I didn’t pick up knitting until my first year of photo school, right before the winter holidays. With help from my mom it became my Christmas hobby. That was the same year Tristan and I fell in love, and so on Christmas day I spent the entire day knitting him a ‘Christmas Day Scarf’. Don’t worry, I still spent the day with my family, and my 10 year old god-brother sat next to me for a lot of it admiring the length and encouraging me as I went. I have continued to knit scarves every holiday season since. Finally last year I decided it was time to learn something new, beyond the scarf. So I started with hats for my cousin’s twins.

I personally am really drawn to the simplicity of knitting. I like when knits and purls are used in simple patterns and so I had a hard time finding a basic beginner toddler hat pattern. So as April mentioned in her post about knitting for Owen, I used videos and links to guide me, and came up with these hats. This is the video I used here and the sizing chart I used is here. I’m going to post the pattern for you regardless and decoded (for you Ape!) so it is easy for the beginner.

The beige hat was the first one I made and it was not without frustration. It was my first time using circular needles and I probably threw them across the room eight times before I got it right. I think the difficult part was Tristan sitting next to me whipping up a hat like it was nothing. Watching him knit with ease helped keep me determined though, and I stayed up past him until four in the morning until I could finally get a hat on the go. The next morning I ripped out what I had done once more and then finally my hat got started. I call this hat my fighter hat, and I gave that one to Sidney because he had to fight a bit at the beginning, being in the hospital a little longer than William. Regardless, both hats were a big deal for me at the time.

If you’re trying to adapt this hat for different yarn or a different size child or adult, use this chart to help you : and make a gauge with your yarn and needles to find out how many stitches you need to cast on. For example I was guessing that the twins had an 18 inch head circumference, and when I knit a square with this yarn and my size 9 needles I found that I knit 4 stitches per inch. So I multiplied 4×18 to get 72 stitches! Just make sure you are casting on for an even amount of stitches, if you want to make a ribbed brim. If you have an odd number of stitches, the brim of your hat will become a seed stitch. Another brim that is really nice is a 2×2 rib. Instead of doing knit 1 purl 1 like I did for these, you could do knit 2 purl 2 and it makes a bit of a more snug brim.

At the end of the pattern, Instead of me trying to describe how to decrease to you, have a look at the knit picks video that April and I mentioned earlier. It was so helpful to me! Again it is here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_hl7HGMDy0

If you have any other knitting problems in general, I would check out Knittinghelp.com It is my new favourite site for knitting videos and how to’s!!

My Pattern – Toddler size!
I skein of each colour makes two hats
Size 9 circular needles
2 wooden buttons per hat

I used Spud and Chloe’s ‘Sweater’ – a worsted weight yarn made of superwash 55% wool and 45% organic cotton – in the colours chipmunk and toast

Cast on 72 Stitches
Join in the round and place a marker at the beginning of your row

Brim of hat
Rows 1-7= Knit 1, Purl 1
Row 8 = Knit
Row 9 &10 = Knit with Contrasting Colour
Row 11 = Change back to the main colour and knit

Continue to knit until hat reaches 5 1/2 inches in height from the cast on row.

Place a stitch marker after every 8th stitch on your needle. You can use scrap pieces of yarn for this if you don’t have markers, it’s all the same!

First Decrease Row = Knit until there are two stitches left before the marker, and then knit those two stitches together. Continue this for the whole row.

Continue this pattern (knitting stitches until two before the marker, and then knit the last two together) until there is only one stitch between each marker.

Cut the working yarn a yard away from the hat so you have room to work with it. Pull the working yarn through the remaining stitches, and sew the tail into the inside of the hat.

Use a darning needle to sew in the two buttons wherever on the brim you think would be the cutest.. sew in all the yarn tails and you’re done!

Ravelry Link Here

Hope you enjoy these hats or are at least inspired to make up your own! – Jenna

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