Monthly Archives: July 2015

Busyness: bunny blankie redux

Because I had an excess of yarn leftover from the first bunny blankie, and another baby-on-the-way announcement ringing in my ears, I decided to make another. But this time I would reverse the colours, just to be different!

…and this is where you need to trust the designer sometimes. Designer knows best. Designer has gone through all the different possibilities of colours and numbers of bunnies and styles, and published the one that works.

For some reason, dark brown bunnies on a tan background really drew attention to the fact that brown is…well…the colour of poo. Or as the Captain pointed out, as though the bunnies were turds on a blanket. Which, given that it’s for a baby, is maybe not the worst thing since babies are turd factories, but still, the blanket at this point is mostly for the parents and the last thing they want is to be presented with something so nasty lookin’.

Needless to say I ripped that sucker back and started over, with the colours specified in the pattern.

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busyness: in praise of big-batch cooking

Because of the young child and working full time thing and wanting to have a life, I don’t have as much time for cooking any more. Which is okay. That time will return, probably sooner than I expect it to (Baby Bear is growing so fast). Until that day, I am in love with cooking tons of food at a time and then freezing it for later. I am so in love with it that I am trying to encourage others – among other tidbits of advice I gave my newly-expecting sister-in-law, I recommended getting a freezer. For food stashing.

Today was my first day of vacation and I spent the morning cooking up a storm of lasagna:

lasagna assembly line

lasagna assembly line

It is not all for us; a couple will be going to some new parents/parents-to-be. Because if there’s anything that I really appreciated and want to pay forward, it was all the meals that people made for us when the Bear was newly home and occupying all our time and attention.

This lasagna is great – it is a friend’s mother’s recipe and I have it handwritten in a grimy notebook, but I don’t even need to check anymore because it is so flexible and easily doubled (or tripled, or quadrupled). Basically just onion, ground beef, and tomato sauce – add whatever veggies and seasoningsĀ suit your mood; I usually grate up a zucchini or two and add some green peppers and mushrooms, and throw in some Worcestershire sauce and a spoonful or two of pesto. Cook that till the meat is browned, the veggies are soft and the sauce is bubbling. The cheese layer is a tub of cottage cheese, an egg, some grated Mozzarella cheese and a thawed-out pack of frozen spinach with the water squeezed out. I’ll add a dash of nutmeg for the spinach if I’m feeling fancy. Then get your oven-ready lasagna noodles, layer it whichever way pleases you best, top with more grated Mozzarella, and bake at 350 degrees F till the cheese is browned and it’s hot through the middle. Perfecto.

Busyness: blankie for Baby Bear

As hoped, the corner-to-corner blankie for Baby Bear knitted up just as quick and sweet as I could possibly hope for.

all done!

all done!

It needs some pretty major blocking but I might just leave it in a diamond because, you know, laziness.

One minor piss-off is that colour change in the top right hand corner. I am pretty diligent about getting the same dye-lot and apparently for this brand, it’s optional for the same dye-lot numbers to have the same dye-lot colours. Which is irritating. I rely on the companies to be consistent with the dye-lots. That’s the entire freaking point of putting a dye-lot number on the label. If I didn’t care about the colours matching, I’d buy the “no dye lot” 5 pound bag of yarn ends for $10 or whatever it is.

Ahem. Maybe it was more than a minor piss-off…

Ah well. It is soft and cuddly and Baby Bear rolled around on it and I wrapped her up like a happy little burrito in it, so I’d say that works.

Busyness: bunny blankie achieved

done like dinner

done like dinner

Ta-da! It is not in its final stage – this is pre-blocked, and I am in the process of sewing on a fleece backing to hide all the stranding – but I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I’m so impressed with the KnitPicks DK Swish yarn (my new go-to for EVERYTHING); I washed this blankie and it turned as soft as soft can be.

I over-bought when gathering supplies so I think I’m going to do another with the colours reversed – so dark bunnies on a tan background. Unless it looks too blah when it knits up. But yay for a project completed!

Aand that’s a wrap.

So I’ve completed another cont.ed. class and once again have time on my hands, and, bewilderingly, a blog. I think that I will try to keep it up for now and see how it goes, but the problem (and irony) of this blog is that keeping it up would cut into my time doing the things that I record on the blog.

So. We’ll see.

Busyness: why I shouldn’t go to Michael’s

I shouldn’t go to Michael’s because there is always a sale on something that I didn’t think I needed until I saw it. But then I see it and I have to have it, and I can justify it because it was on sale.

An example: when getting the embroidery floss for the Prank Craft , I found out that Bernat’s Baby Blanket yarn, which is this great chenille-feeling super bulky, was 30% off. And it comes in super-cute variegated colours. And there was an easy-looking pattern on the label. All these things came together, and I thought to myself, You know, it’s a shame that you haven’t made Baby Bear a blankie of her own. You make blankies for everyone else’s babies, but not for your baby. What is up with that? I bet she would love a snuggly chenille-feeling blankie in Peachy.

20 minutes later I am walking out of Michael’s six balls of Bernat Baby Blanket richer, trying to ignore the fact that the bunny blanket is waiting patiently to be completed before its August deadline.

Fortunately for the bunny blanket, Baby Bear’s project is whipping up nice and quick:

cuddle blankie

It is indeed an easy pattern: corner-to-corner seed stitch. I still managed to screw up a couple row (don’t knit and watch Criminal Minds, apparently), but the yarn is really forgiving and doesn’t show.

The pattern can be found on Yarnspirations, the new site for the Bernat/Patons/Caron/Phentex family of yarn brands. I hadn’t realized that they had put all their brands together under one site and do I ever appreciate the redesign. Much more user-friendly, and nicer to look at to boot.

Magic beans

Our back garden is fascinating: when you dig in the soil you get the worst stuff coming up, like bottle caps and rusty nails and cigarette butts. But the plants cannot get enough of it.

Check this peony:

growing like WEEDS

growing like WEEDS

I had been concerned that it wouldn’t come back, but nope! Came back bigger and better than before.

Because I’m still a fairly lazy gardener, I like to set myself up for success and plant things that are known to be easy to grown. To whit, scarlet runner beans. But I still can’t get over how awesomely fast they grow.

last week

this week

this week

No skill, planning, effort, or even healthy-looking dirt needed. Giant’s castle and golden-egg laying hen, here we come.