Spoiler Alert!!! Through The Loops Mystery Shawl: Clue One!


Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!!!! Scroll no further if you don't want to be spoiled!!!!


A fall shawl!!!!

I think I told you guys a few weeks ago about how I really wanted some new shawls since I gave almost all of mine away last winter? Well I joined Through the Loops Mystery Shawl on ravelry!

Last summer my instagram pals Kayanna, Dianne, Michelle, Colleen & I did a mystery shawl together with some mixed results. I think we all finished but I'm not sure if anyone truly loved theirs? I didn't love mine. Actually, scratch that out. I loved mine BUT it was incredibly small and not even remotely practical. I only recently (like last week) brought it to my local yarn store to see if I could do anything with it,. I don't think it was the designers fault, I think I probably didn't realize how the measurements worked out. I'm not very good at those sort of things.

So this summer! Mystery Shawl! Let's do this!!!! I was feeling a little nervous. But I wanted to try it. I'll be 100% honest with you guys, I joined because I loved the icon. Isn't that terrible? Judging a book by it's cover...joining a knit-a-long because of it's icon! ;) I mentioned that I loved it on Ravelry and the designer said she loved Edward Gorey. SOLD! COUNT ME IN! I'M SIGNING UP!

The intro pdf made me pretty confident I made the right choice, Kristen has you pick three colors and wrap them around a toilet paper roll to see how you'll like them together. Totally clever.

I'm using the following yarns on size 6 needles:

  • Plucky Feet in Sticky Toffee. This yarn started life as a pair of socks but I didn't love how they fit so I frogged them. I might go as far as saying that if there was ever a color I felt was dyed for me, it would be sticky toffee. It truly glows.
  • Plucky Feet in Lonesome Highway
  • Sundara Petite Sock in Rhythm of the Saints. Ok, I *love* this yarn. It's stunning. Photos will never do it justice. Imagine the prettiest burgundy your brain can think of, then add a tiny dash of pink. That's this skein. The base of this yarn is different than the Plucky, it has more twist and I like the texture that it's giving the lace.

The colors are Halloween/Autumn inspired. It's my favorite time of year. I can't get enough of it. I think it's going to match my Halloween donut quilt. (side note: did you guys know there is a line of fabric called Nevermore? I want it ALL! )

On a scale of 1-5 of trickiness, I'd give this a solid 4. I sat through 5.5 episodes of NCIS, plus two hours of complete quiet for the lace section. That being said, I am *not* a very confident or intuitive lace knitter. HOWEVER! The pattern is written super well. It has both chart and written directions, plus row counts. Incredibly helpful. I was off once and was able to rip back and fix my mistake so that was cool! By the last section of repeats I finally figured out what I was doing. It only took me a full day of knitting to figure it out. ;)

It's going to be 106 degrees this weekend, that makes me wilt just thinking about it. The only good thing about summer heat?

Summer veggies!!! My garden is already giving us generous hand fulls of these little cute tomatoes. I can't for the life of me remember the variety but they come in yellow, orange and red. I tossed them with some spinach, pesto, eggs and homemade garlic sausage for a fast & easy frittata. YUM!




(the well loved medium multibowl & tart dish courtesy of Le Creuset :))

My favorite snack ever. And my favorite pan ever. Le Creuset's Soup Pot.

Where do I begin today's blog post?

 If it was legal to marry a pan..


Snacking is why I'm chubby..

I love Friday's..


Ok let's start here:

In August Le Creuset sent me some amazing pans to try and review. Crazy right? I'm not a food blogger at all, I'm just a girl who loves to cook. A lot. And I like inspiring other people to cook, via instagram and by teaching them in classes.

I'm going to have a full week of pan/cookware reviews coming up soon but I can't stop obsessing over this pan so I'll share a smidge about it today. And popcorn. And dill.

One of my hugest pet peeves is when a company gives a person an item to review and then 24 hours later, they give this gushing, glowing review. What the what?! How can you form an opinion that quick?! I certainly can't. Which is why I rarely accept things from manufacturers and why my blog is ad free. But this pan? I've lived with it. I've dropped it. I've had cooking successes and failures in it. It's been abused. And hands down, without a doubt, if you asked me what my very favorite pan is, I'd say this one. If I was stuck on an island with one pan, this would be my choice. It's my soulmate in pan form!

It's real name is Le Creuset's 4 1/4 Qt Soup Pot. The color I have is called Ocean and it's quite possibly the most beautiful color. A few years ago Chop surprised me with the tea kettle in the same color and it's dreamy. A perfect slate gray. And it's DURABLE. I've brought it too and from cooking classes, friends houses, camping, etc. I had a rather memorable occasion  (read that as, I was horrified!) when I was juggling things out of our car and dropped it onto the pavement. No dings. No scratches. Relief for sure!

Our electric stove is quite possibly one of the worst. It's ancient (no really!) and it has two settings: barely on and flaming hot. This pan distributes heat wonderfully. I can simmer soups successfully, I can create amazing jams and it goes from stove top to oven perfectly- ala my favorite curry recipe. 

Ok, so later on I'll tell you more about this pan because I'm totally in fan girl mode right now and I'm rambling and I REALLY want to share with you my obsession with popcorn! And dill!

When I was little my mom, who's an amazing cook, would make things like chicken & dumplings and I'd throw a hissy fit because I hated the green floating things (dill). Thankfully I've grown out of my hatred of dill (like, 3 months ago).

So now I eat dill like, daily. On eggs, mixed in yogurt cheese, in soups, on baked yams. Basically, dill 24/7. And now..dill popcorn.

I saw on pinterest a link to Soule Mama's blog post about popcorn. And I thought it would be fun to take some photos of my favorite popcorn and share them with you!

I make my popcorn on the stove top using Simply Recipe's method, which is super easy and always works out perfectly. Even if you have a horrid stove. You just need a good pan. ;)

Here's what I do differently:

A heaping tablespoon of coconut oil instead of another neutral oil. I found this out accidentally, I don't keep many oils in the house except for olive oil, which you shouldn't use because it'll burn. I had a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil left in a jar and gave it a try...perfect!

I use 1/4 cup of dill, a hearty shake (or 5) of Bragg's Sprinkle, a melted tablespoon of butter, some smoked Alder salt (it sounds weird but it's heavenly), some garlic powder and a healthy grating of romano cheese. That's it. And it's perfect for Friday's! You can eat it out of the pan if you are lazy like me or share with your family.

You know what else is perfect for Friday's?! Springtime Sampler. YES. It's ready for pre-sale today and it has a chart to get you started! And theworkroom has floss bundles and fabric!

That's a lot of info for one blog post huh? I'll be back on Monday with some Springtime Sampler sneak peeks.

Have a good weekend!

Knit Mason Jar Cozy & Coconut Chai

Two of my favorite things in one post, knitting & cooking!

More like, blending, not so much cooking!

Last week I made a mason jar cozy using MisoCraftyKnits pattern! It was so fast & fun! It fits perfectly!

I used some tosh merino dk in vanilla bean and size 5 needles. I followed the ribbing for the convertible pattern but mine doesn't fold down since I usually only drink from the pint jars.

I think my fall treats are going to be a Cuppow & some David's Tea! I've never tried either, I wish I could buy David's tea locally so I could smell it and see which ones I like best. If only the internet had scratch and sniff....but on second thought that might be a rotten idea.

I love chai tea, it's one of my favorite fall treats, it's spicy and cinnamon-y and a little bit sweet. I like that! But it's still summer and it's too hot for hot tea! All summer long I've been playing around with making iced chai more summer-y.

Enter Coconut Emulsion! Fancy right? Not really! I think I've told you guys about this before. You can buy it online or at most cooking supply shops, I've never seen it at grocery stores but if you live in a larger city you might be able to find something similar there! This bottle will last you FOREVER. Trust me on this. Last fall I bought a jar of pumpkin so I could make my own pumpkin spice simple syrup and for some reason I thought two tablespoons would be plenty...in reality it's more like a teaspoon was needed. One sip and I thought I was going to die. Totally gross-town. Less is more with emulsions.

So what I do is make a bunch of chai concentrate, I make mine from scratch using this recipe as a base and I edit it, sometimes more cardamon or less cloves, always more orange and a heavy dash of vanilla bean paste, it really all depends what I have on hand & what I can beg my mom to mail me. She has access to better spices than I do. ;) I almost always make mine decaf, I rarely drink caffeine.

Sometimes I buy Trader Joe's brand chai latte mix which is good! But you can use Oregon or whatever you like. I make a few pint jars of concentrate at once, I'll either keep them in the fridge or freezer. After you strain the spices out (or have finished mixing from a mix!) I start to add coconut emulsion and start with a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting frequently, especially if you are making just one mug full. Then I like to freeze coconut milk in ice cube trays and add them in! My favorite way to drink it is to put it in a mason jar and shake the heck out of it, the chai will froth and be super cold and amazing. I drink Silk brand Vanilla Coconut milk, it has a smoothness I like more than almond milk.

Also, this emulsion is amazing in homemade pina coladas. Just saying! ;)


Food in Jars: A Book Review

I won a cookbook! Neat right?! I never win things! Aimee happened to be having a giveaway the same time I was canning peaches so I tagged some instagram photos and woo! I won!

My book arrived on Tuesday evening, I spent the entire night reading it, cover to cover. Twice.

The book is called Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. She has a blog called Food in Jars that I super enjoy.

I love canning, love love love it. Last summer I canned over 250 lbs of produce, I teach canning in my spare time and I've won a bunch of ribbons at the fair for canning. Seriously, it's one of my favorite things to do on earth.

I own two canning books. I have the Ball Book which I use nonstop, it's basically my bible & go to guide. I have the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook which if it wasn't given to me as a gift, I would have returned. Harsh but true.

Here is what I love about Marisa's book:

It's approachable. I love the tone of the book, it's so perfect for people who want to try canning but are intimidated. It's very down to earth, with full color photos showing how to fill the jars and gauge a jam's set. The introduction is filled with the basics of canning written clear & concisely. You can tell Marisa loves to can and she's good at sharing that love in written form.

I really enjoy the conversational style of writing in the introductions to each recipe and chapter, that is the only down fall of the Ball Book, it has no personality! Recipes (to me at least!) need to have some sort of life behind them! The photos are in the book dreamy and the book itself is really quite beautiful, I love the weight of the paper and fonts used. I'm a sucker for anything well designed.

The book is broken down into categories:

Jams Fruit Butters Jellies Marmalades Curds & Conserves Chutneys & Condiments Pickles Salsas & Relishes Tomatoes Syrups Whole Fruit Granola in Jars (cute right?!) Nut Butters Other Foods in Jars

Basically, you could build your entire pantry with this book and I love that. The recipes are unique and inspiring, like Lime Curd, Gingery Pickled Beets (!!!!) and Bing Cherries in Red Wine Syrup. I've already book marked a whole slew of recipes I want to try next. For me, that's what makes or breaks a cookbook (or knitting book or quilting book!), I want to get a LOT of out of it, not two or three things. I want to try the Rosemary Salt, the Cultured Butter, Pickled Sweet Cherries and Cranberry Ketchup for sure! And! homemade Nutella! I use my moms recipe but the one in the book is really similar, so that's super rad!

The recipes themselves are really neat, I made the cranberry syrup (page 179) and I made it *exactly* as the recipe is stated. And it's perfect! I got exactly 4 half pints and the flavor is crisp & sweet! I'm super excited to make fizzy drinks & cocktails! Easy peasy! I like that she mentions to not be tempted to squish the cranberries while straining them...of course that was what I wanted to do, but I restrained myself and I have beautiful jewel toned jars for my cupboard!

I honestly hope she writes another book, this is going to be one that I for sure suggest to friends & students! woo woo!


ps: I won this book but no one asked me to review it & I wasn't compensated, I did it because I think it's a rad book! :D The End!

How I spent my birthday morning & afternoon:

Since my birthday fell on a Wednesday and Chop had to work, I really wanted to relax & spend the morning/afternoon doing fun things.

I sewed a farm block called hovering birds (new name: hey chickadee!) out of some favorite fabrics.

I listened to The King is Dead & worked on my autumn socks. Isn't this yarn dreamy? Plucky Feet in Sticky Toffee!

I wrote in my Smash Book about who I am at 30. This was kind of tricky! I realized this winter that my goals and dreams weren't really lining up with how I was living my life and the past 6 months I've been working my butt off trying to change that. So far so good! I made notes of my favorite books, foods, fabric & yarn, states and then general things like music I'm obsessed with and personality traits. Plus about a zillion inside jokes that I share with Chop.

My favorite part was spending the morning in the kitchen. I absolutely LOVE cream pies but I also LOVE salty & sweet together. I used King Arthur Flours chocolate cream pie filling recipe which was easy peasy. The only substitution I made was heavy cream and vanilla coconut milk instead of heavy cream and dairy milk.

Instead of a normal pie crust, I crushed some Newman O's and some pretzels together with a 1/4 cup of melted butter (no calories on birthdays ;)) and pressed it into a shell, then par baked it and then tossed it in the freezer until it was ready to fill. It was PERFECT. The whipped cream was soft and sweet, the filling with rich chocolate and smooth and then the pie crust was salty, sweet and crunchy! I could only eat a 1/4 of a piece, it's VERY rich.

I even wore a cat tshirt and had bed head all day! Perfect!

Thanks so much for all your birthday wishes! <3<3<3

Let's Make Salsa!

Salsa Party!

Let's make salsa today k?

This is totally the easiest stuff on earth. I never bother with store bought stuff anymore because this is so fast, so fresh and totally customizable.

My favorite salsa involves: lots of tomatoes a little heat tons of garlic and onion heavy on the cilantro light on the cumin sweetness

If your perfect salsa doesn't involve these things, feel free to switch it up!


3 medium tomatoes 1 can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes 1 Anaheim Pepper, seeds removed 1 Jalapeño Pepper, seeds removed 2 TBLS honey 3 cloves garlic, peeled 2 TBLS dehydrated garlic (vampires won't want anything to do with you!) 2 TBLS dehydrated onion dash of cumin dash of red pepper flakes dash of chili powder giant handful of washed cilantro juice of one lime

Take everything and toss it into a food processed and whirl until it reaches your desired constancy. I like mine finely minced. If my tomatoes aren't very watery I'll add a TBLS of water at a time until it's less paste-like and more salsa like!

Each time I make this I'll do it a little differently, sometimes more peppers or if my peppers aren't ripe, a can of rotel. Sometimes I'll roast the tomatoes myself if I have a bunch. Or I'll use agave instead of honey. Really, whatever you like!

I don't add salt because I like salty chips and I like to use my salsa in chili, tortilla soup, on eggs, etc. You can of course add salt to taste!

PLEASE REMEMBER! While I keep my salsa in a canning jar in the fridge, THIS IS NOT A CANNING RECIPE. It doesn't contain the proper amount of acid to be safely canned and shelf stable. If you want to make salsa for your pantry that is safely canned, this is a recipe I've made numerous times with great results.

Happy Friday! Adios!

Guising Mini Quilt

Remember when I knew how to use the straighten tool in photoshop? No? Me neither! I need photoshop for dummies ;)

Today is my 30th birthday & I'm probably doing something fun for myself, like baking a chocolate coconut cream pie. Or eating potatoes au gratin in stretchy pants. Or knitting some new socks. I have lots of things to think about today. My 20s, I'm excited to say, are behind me. Woo Woo!!! 30 year old me is already way smarter than 28-29 year old me. I'm sure I'll talk about this more this upcoming year.

One of my favorite things EVER is Halloween (did you miss this memo ;)) and I made this Halloween mini last month and never shared it! One of my goals is to share more. My goal in August is to make myself a Guising quilt, just a simple lap quilt. I can't wait to start it, this line makes me SO happy!!!!

The template I used was this one which was SUPER fun but I somehow lost the directions (of course! ;)). I'd bought it years ago and this was the first time I'd tried it! It was my first time doing lots of curves and lots of y seams. Not too great but not shabby. I'll share it either way! ;)

I quilted it using 50 wt Aurifil in a chocolate brown, it's really pretty. I used a scrap of Quilter's Dream Orient batting and it's so soft and drape-y, very dreamy, even for a mini!

Normally I don't wash my minis but this one I SOAKED because I used gray chalk to mark the lines. I'm glad I soaked it, it gave it a little crinkle but nothing too crazy. Perfect!

Cross your fingers that birthday me is eating lots of treats & hopefully wearing a Pusheen tshirt. It feels weird to schedule posts in the future but I'm going to go with it! I feel like I'm Alan Rickman leaving myself voicemails. Only a few of you will get that joke, the rest of you will think I'm crazy! ;)

Come back tomorrow for some Farmer's Wife blocks k?!

Garden Peppers

Look at these beauties!

I've been able to pick a decent amount of peppers from the garden about every two weeks so far this summer. I have 4 plants, two bells and two Anaheim's. They are loving the mild summer we are having for sure!

Last summer I planted a large garden, this year I've kept it kind of small and everything in containers. I have two tomato plants, one is a black krim and that seems to be the happiest. I'd go as far as saying that it has become my favorite tomato, it's beautiful and very meaty. I have 14 lemons on tree. We've had lots of potatoes and onions.

I pulled up all my garlic that Jackie & I grew together on our cross country garlic experiment. We went through school together, she still lives in MA & I live here in Northern California. This fall she sent me hard neck garlic bulbs to plant and it was SO much fun. We were constantly tagging each other in photos on facebook as our garlic grew. I ended up with over 20 heads of garlic. I have them hanging in our pantry and it's really satisfying to just walk in & snip a head off as I need it.

We have a mystery plant too! I decided not to use our raised bed this year, we planted corn/tomatoes/peppers/etc in it last year and I thought the soil could use a rest. We've been spreading compost in it every once in awhile and now...MYSTERY PLANT! I've been posting photos of it on facebook and instagram, the majority thinks it's either a cucumber or a pumpkin. I'm leaning towards pumpkin because I've always wanted to grow pumpkins.

Once I have another ripe tomato I'll post my new favorite salsa recipe. I canned a lot of salsa last summer and we went through it SO fast, this year I've been making 2 jars a week of fresh salsa and I keep thinking "ok, this week I'll put some in the freezer" but it never happens. It's just easy to put it on everything, eggs, tortilla pie, chicken breasts..we are salsa addicts and we might need a 12 step program!

If you've noticed July was quiet around here, I had a blog glitch but I think Chop fixed it last night so I'll be posting July's Aurifil BOM post, a Farmer's Wife Block that I hand pieced (!!!), a new Guising mini quilt and two shawls I knit last month. And! The Pumpkin's have a new tomato pattern exclusively on kitschy digitals!


Favorite Snack: Blackberry Lime-Aid Jam

I was rummaging around in our garage freezer earlier this week, hunting for some secret venison back-straps when I found 5 little purple containers of this freezer jam from last summer.

I think freezer jam is silly; a waste of freezer space to be completely honest. I'd rather freeze meat, vegetables & ice cream ;) But finding these squirreled away definitely brightened up a dreary week. I'd gotten a coupon for Ball's new-ish plastic freezer half pints and decided to try them out using this recipe. I switched it up, skipped the pectin, & substituted Hansen's Ginger-Ale for the water.

Recipe as adapted from BH&G Canning

5 1/4 cups sugar 3 cups crushed blackberries zest of 2 limes juice of 2 limes can of Hansen's Ginger-Ale

In a large bowl, combine sugar, blackberries, lime zest and juice. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add mixture to a small saucepan with ginger-ale and bring to a soft boil.

Stir until well combined and not grainy (I prefer baking sugar to standard for jam making). Let it thicken slightly, 225 degrees will help it gel but it's not necessary unless you hate runny jam.

Ladle jam into half-pint freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hrs and then move to refrigerator for up to 3 week or freezer for a year.

I like mine on whole wheat toast with a schmear of cream cheese.

Making Marmalade

Marmalade is one of my favorite jams. It's the best way to use up some big oranges and a fun morning in the kitchen.

I think marmalade is pretty beginner friendly, there is no added pectin. It's a lot of hands off time, letting the fruit cook down and caramelize slightly in the pan. I like making it because the yield is pretty high, it's super bright & summer-y in the jar and I can do other things while it's softly boiling- like laundry or emails.

Recipe: as adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (if you are thinking about canning, get this book! no seriously! right away!)

Yield: 8 half pints

2 1/4 lbs oranges, unpeeled but scrubbed clean. grated zest and juice of a lemon 6 cups of water 9 cups bakers sugar (This is just extra fine sugar, I find it dissolves better in jam) 1/2 cup honey

optional: vanilla bean paste and vanilla vodka for an orange creamsicle marmalade 2 habanero chili peppers and a dash of red pepper flakes for a spicy marmalade

Wash your jars in hot soapy water, then place them in a water canner with at least an inch and a half of water covering the jars. Do not use them straight out of the package. Set the canner on the stove to boil, set the lids and rings in a small sauce pan on the stove in simmering warm water. Don't boil the rings and lids. I always sterilize a few extra jars, just in case!

Put 4-5 metal spoons in your freezer.

Using either a very sharp knife or a mandolin slice your oranges with the peel on very thin (1/8th to a 1/4 inch thickness) and remove the seeds.

Zest your lemon.

Combine lemon zest, oranges, juice of the lemon and the water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, lower it to a gentle boil. This means the bubbles are there but it's not a crazy rolling boil. Once it starts to gently boil, set a timer for 40 minutes. During this time I like to stir occasionally, check my email, do laundry, etc. But keep in mind that you are COOKING. Don't abandon your oranges completely or they'll scorch, especially if you are using a thin metal pot.

During the gentle boil your fruit will start to turn a light yellowish orange and fall apart. This is good!

After 40 minutes, feel free to spice things up by adding some habanero chili peppers or dried red pepper flakes.

Set a timer for another 30 minutes and partially cover. You'll keep boiling gently but really keep an eye on it. The fruit is starting to break down a lot now, the peels will start to break. I like to press them against the pan every so often, if they fall apart easily, I know I'm getting close to done. Plus I prefer smaller peel bits in my marmalade.

I know, 40 minutes and another 30 minutes of cooking. You are feeling like this is a long time right? Nope! It's what gives marmalade it's deep taste and characteristic darker bright orange color.

After your 30 minute timer goes off, it's GO TIME. If you've added peppers, remove them now.

Add 9 cups of sugar, a little at a time, mixing well. I pre-measure out the 9 cups so I'm not digging around in the sugar bin. Keep the jam boiling and set a timer for 15 minutes, this is what causes the marmalade to thicken- the super rolling boil and the sugar. Towards the end I add the honey. During the last 5-7 minutes of cooking, grab the cold spoons from the freezer and dip them in the marmalade. This is called doing a sheet test. You want the marmalade to come off the spoon in a sheet, not single drops. Drops mean the marmalade is still too liquid-y and needs to keep cooking.

At this point, it's easy to get overwhelmed, the mixture is at a rolling boil, your stirring often so it doesn't burn, it's foaming, but don't worry. It really does take 15 minutes to gel, sometimes longer. I was at 19 minutes before I got a nice sheet off my spoon. I also keep a thermometer in the pot, 220 degrees is generally when it thickens, but if you are at high or low altitude this temperature will be different. Let the fruit cook, it will foam and that's ok! If you get overwhelmed and are concerned about burning it, keep in mind that there is NOTHING wrong with marmalade that is slightly runny. It makes excellent marinade for chicken, fish, duck, pork...really anything. Plus of course on top of ice cream and in oatmeal.

Once your fruit has reached gel point, take it off the stove and start filling jars!

If you want to make a creamsicle jam- stir in 2 TBL vanilla bean paste and 2 TBL vanilla vodka to the marmalade. It's pretty swoon worthy!

You'll need 1/4 inch headspace, make sure you remove any air bubbles from the jars and wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Put the lid and band on the jar, place the jar back in the canner. Once the water starts boiling again, set a timer for 10 minutes to process. Once the timer is done, lift the lid and let the jars set for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool undisturbed. If you have any jars that haven't sealed, either reprocess or put in the fridge to use within a month.

That's it! Not too bad right? You can find the original recipe here but buy the book! It's so good and my copy is well loved and used.

so now you HAVE to make marmalade. And give it to friends! or be a meanie like me & hoard it ;)

Dessert of the Month & Project Life

Happy Sunday!!!!

I thought it would be neat if once a week I shared with you my weeks worth of project life cards. Project Life is SO much fun for me. If you've never heard of it, check out some links here, here and here

I've been making 4x6 inch cards to store in this little library drawer. Every day my phones alarm goes off and I set a timer for 10 minutes to reflect on my day and make a card. Super fun & achievable since I take about a zillion cell phone photos a day. I've been using scrapbook paper I've been collecting just because I love paper and my pogo printer. I'm keeping them simple and fun. Sometimes I write a few words that capture the day or glue a receipt to the back of a card. I love things in multiples and already seeing this cute little stack of cards makes me super happy. I bought myself a Martha Stewart Valentine's Day Mat Stack (I think it's called?) with a 40% Michaels coupon so I think the entire month of February is going to be PINK! eek!

Dessert of the Month!!!! My linen from dovestitch arrived yesterday afternoon & I watched some Psych and started stitching. I'm SO excited with how many people are stitching along with us! I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the blog posts/photos/tweets etc! I want to make sure I link to, re-tweet, like photos and I don't want to leave anyone out! So if you've blogged about dessert of the month, could you leave me a comment or if you know of a friend who's blogged about it? I'd love to do a round up this week of links! Truffle PARTY!!!!!

The pattern is on sale for $10 only until TUESDAY! Then it goes up to $16.95!

Also- twitter & instagram friends, let's use the hashtag #dessertofthemonth so we can keep up with each other!!! Fun!!!

I can't wait to share with you February's dessert. Seriously. Each time I look at him I get excited. My mom thinks I should send out dessert recipes for each month...why didn't I think of that? I think next month I'll include a recipe! That would be cute right?!

Yesterday I canned habanero marmalade! It is so amazing but too spicy for me. I'm going to try grapefruit marmalade next weekend, I'm testing recipes for a winter jam class I'm teaching in February. I'm crossing my fingers Chop & I go out for frozen yogurt today, I haven't had any since OCTOBER! What the heck?!?!!!

Have a good Sunday pals!

Chop's Birthday & Aurifil Thread

Yesterday was Mr. McPorkchop's birthday! I threw him a little party to celebrate. I'm big on birthdays. My birthday I try to drag out as long as possible, I start reminding people in March. Which doesn't sound crazy until you learn that my birthday is in August. It's not that I want a zillion presents, but more because I love celebrating. Anything. Had a good hair day? Party. Got a quilt in a book? Party. Got a big wholesale order? Party. Taught a successful class? Party. Went a whole week without buying fabric or yarn? Party! (at the fabric/yarn shop ;)) jkjkjk! (kind of ;))

But I have a feeling when your birthday is so close to Christmas...you get kind of screwed. Pardon my harsh language here but really. Combined gifts because the person obviously remembered Christmas but your birthday? Not so much. Christmas cards that say Happy Birthday. No way! Not for my ChopChop! So I spent the day yesterday making him a perfect birthday. I made chicken enchiladas, a funfetti cake from scratch, a quilt, some decorations. He got home from work and was promptly fed about 90 pounds of food. And tonight we are going to a local restaurant! woo woo!

Chop's Birthday Cake Recipe As adapted from Fannie Farmer Cookbook & my mom ;)

Makes two 8 inch round layers

1 ¾ cups cake flour (minus 2 tbls if you don't have cake flour & are using all purpose) 2 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt 10 TBL softened butter 1 cup sugar 3 egg whites – aprx ½ cup 1 ½ tsp vanilla (clear if you want a pure white cake, paste/standard extract if you don't mind an off white cake) 1/2 cup cold water 1/4 cup jimmies (I like a lot. You can use less :))

Heat oven to 325. Grease the bottom of the cake pans. Add a circle of parchment paper to each pan. Grease the parchment.

Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream the butter and gradually add in the sugar. Beat until blended. Add egg whites one at a time, mixing one minute in between each addition. Stir water & vanilla together. I used vanilla bean paste and my cake turned out off white, if you use clean vanilla extract you'll have a perfectly pure white cake. Alternate between adding the water/vanilla and the flour mixture to the creamed sugar. Once combined fold in jimmies. Separate evenly between two cake pans and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes using a tooth pick test. Mine was done at 18 but our oven is slightly cranky.

For the frosting I used this Classic Buttercream and it'll be my new go-to frosting recipe.

We had a super fun night! And I had a cake for breakfast. So that's how my day is going so far ;)

In other exciting news, I'm one of Aurifil's 2012 Designers! Super neat right? I'm really excited to work with their 12 wt thread...and...my month is OCTOBER. mmHMMM!! You know I'll be stitching up something crazy cute & Halloween-y! Or Autumn-y! Or Kawaii! It's top secret until then. Each month I'm going to work on my fellow designers blocks & blog about them, I love the group of ladies, each one has a totally unique style and I know everyone is bringing something rad to the table!

You can (and should!) quilt-a-long with us! You can win aurifil thread by entering your photo of the blocks we work on into the flickr group!

I'm hoping since Pam and I have months close to each other we can get together & work on our projects at Starbucks! woo woo!!!

I'm off to finish up a zillion last minute projects so I can take a few days off! woo woo!

This Week:

I'm pretty excited for tomorrow. It starts a new week. A new week that involves Chop birthday (the 21st!) and Christmas. This week:

My lemons started to ripen!

I made a giant veggie lasagna!

I had a mega baking day with my mom!

I finished knitting a sock!

I worked on some of my cross stitch!

I daydreamed about creating something rad from this pile of fabric!

I'm ending the week with a date with Chop...scrabble!!!!

Can you tell I'm in love with Instagram? It's a free app for iphones and ipads, if you have it, let's be friends! comment with your name so I can follow you :)

If you are looking for a last minute gift, check out our Hoop Travel Bag, or maybe Snow Globe Cutie, or even Playful Mr. Fox!

I hope your upcoming week is fun & inspiring :) (and filled with candy, chocolate, cookies, pie...really whatever yumminess you are cooking up for the holidays!)

Mexican Hot Cocoa

One of my favorite things during the winter is Mexican Hot Cocoa. I like it very spicy and very chocolate-y and a vehicle for lots of mini marshmallows.

I really like using Tyler Florence's recipe as a guideline and then jazzing it up.

While the milk is warming, I make a little spice bag and add one or two dried chili peppers, a pinch of red pepper flakes, Saigon cinnamon (Costco has this in giant containers REALLY affordable!). Let the bag sit in the milk while it's cooking and the flavors will blend together. I love steeping milk with different flavors! (this is also how I make flavored yogurts) Of course you don't have to use a spice bag, you can just strain the milk afterwards but I'm lazy ;)

Hope everyone is staying cozy!

{~*it's official*~}

I love to teach! It's just plain AWESOME! Seeing people learn & be inspired is the best! I taught autumn comfort baking yesterday in Redding at That Kitchen Place. I couldn't have asked for a better group of ladies! Everyone was really interactive, asked questions, shared stories.

It was EXACTLY what I want Sewing Summit to be like & today is the last day you can sign up!

Sewing Summit is going to be a *great* time. You can meet all your online friends, be as social (or anti social!) as you want, learn from super talented ladies & just be part of the online quilting community but in REAL LIFE. I'm excited to meet everyone, chat about mini quilts & just be part of the quilting movement.

I've been still knitting! It's crazy, I learned to knit in 2003, and to be completely honest, I sucked. I could do hats & fingerless mitts but that was about it. And I'd like, two things a year & then give up.

Lately it just CLICKS. I've been finishing projects like a girl possessed! I'm going to take a little time tomorrow morning & update ravelry with photos of the things I've finished & then link to it here. I've been really good about finishing what I start & it feels GOOD. I cast on for Damson, it's so fun so far. I'm using some pigeonroof studios original sock yarn & it's BLISS. watching the colors change is fascinating.

I'm getting ready to fall asleep! I hope you had a nice weekend!





{~*Happy Thursday*~}

It's been quiet around here. Lots of knitting & cross stitching. I'm REALLY excited for Sewing Summit! I can't believe it's NEXT WEEK! I'm leaving Sacramento on Wednesday morning to spend a little extra time with Karyn & Katherine. And help Erin & Amy if they need it. This is going to be an absolute BLAST.

My class is coming together so well. I'll be speaking about mini quilts because it's what I LOVE. I'm bringing a bunch of my favorites, plus a few new ones that haven't been seen, including one from a not yet released book! So that's pretty fun! You can still register but time is running out! Sewingsummit.com! Check it out!

I'm a little unsure how my days will be in SLC, right now I'm sleeping 14 hrs a night & napping twice a day. But I totally don't want to miss a THING. I think I'll bring two small handwork projects & just sit & stitch with friends. Hopefully there are lots of cozy nooks! I wish they had a kitchen so I could bake with everyone! Wouldn't that be a blast?!

I'm currently knitting Ptarmigan & still working on my Lizzy*Kate stitch a long with Kristi. Both are coming out well & I'm proud of them for sure!

I'm teaching a class all about autumn baking on Saturday at That Kitchen Place in Redding. Exciting! This morning I baked Chop pumpkin spice cinnamon buns with vanilla chai icing. He's going hunting this weekend & I thought he might like a little something sweet!

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get done between now & Wednesday, my poor little laptop is so grouchy! If you use instagram I'd love it if we were friends! I want to delete flickr together & JUST instagram! Everyone is so friendly!

Oh & yesterday I saw Tracey...she is BIG!!!!!! and ADORABLE! that baby is coming SOON. I'm thinking it's going to be a boy!

Have a good Thursday!


{*~Hi Fall~*}


Fall is my most favorite time of year. Hands down. Without a doubt. It's bliss.

Today I woke up and went outside to a beautiful sunrise. Drove down to Starbucks- wearing my finished Pogona and had my first pumpkin spice latte. It's been an overcast kind of day- clouds! Eek! Pam says it's been raining at her house in Shasta Lake! I am totally in my element. Canned some nectarines into a browned butter spicy compote. Took a nap. Did a little sewing. Planning on reading, hand sewing a late wedding gift, knitting & cross stitching the rest of the day. Craving Mexican food, something kind of spicy, very filling with cheese and black beans.

I picked up a moleskine at Target a little while ago. For $3. But it's red. And I have to be honest, I hate red. BUT IT WAS $3! Instead of $15! How could I walk away from that?! So I've been slowly working on a cover for it. It's taken me a long time, mostly because I get tired. It's my FAVORITE thing ever (big shock) stars! The block of stars is 4.5 inches. The photo looks like I chopped off some points but I pinkie swear I didn't ;) I'm kind of hooked on quilters tweed, loulouthi and mustard-y repro prints lately. Fall colors are my very favorite.

This week is your last chance to sign up for Sewing Summit. I'm super excited. A little nervous about traveling. Very nervous about meeting so many people. Nervous about my energy level (I'm napping like 3x a day!) Not nervous about teaching because I realize I have a LOT to say about mini quilts & inspiration. I also have this strange feeling like the first day of school, WILL THESE PEOPLE LIKE ME? IS MY HAIR WEIRD? ARE MY PANTS FUNNY? I'm excited to spend time with people who I talk to DAILY. I'll be bringing a lot of hand work so I can just SIT and stitch.

My attempts at mobile blogging haven't been going so hot. Forgive my textless Farmer's Wife post with one random photo. Oi. I am so not tech savvy. I think I was born in the wrong era.

Did you make a list of fall goals? I'd sure love a pair of thick worsted weight socks & to make lots of cranberry treats. And a pumpkin donut.


Things are very quiet around here at Casa de Porkchop.

I'm having some personal problems and my days are quiet per drs orders. Very quiet. Like didn't check my email for 7 days and have been sleeping more than I think I've ever slept in my life. It's been different but ok!


One afternoon on twitter I was talking to Kayanna and she mentioned she was knitting Pogona by West Knits and I thought...hey! I like that! AND! My LYS is carrying a ton of MadelineTosh so I cast on using a color called Rosewood and it's been like knitting with air! Total bliss.

I randomly scored 4 lbs of strawberries so I quartered them and grilled them at 400 degrees with a big splash of pomegranate vinegar. Once they reduced down like CRAZY I brought them inside and made jam with them. I reserved one cup of the chunky berries and blended the rest. I added some white & pink pepper and canned it. It might be my FAVORITE thing I've canned all summer. Very bright tasting with a burst of spice.

I joined a local sewing group, so that's AWESOME! It's been super fun to sit and sew with other people. Although it's crazy humbling, these ladies are so talented, but really welcoming which is the best!

Last week Pam came up! It was so so so fun. I freaking LOVE her. She's hilarious. We had Gobblers and went fabric shopping. I slept the entire next day. She is wayyy too much fun. You can read about our outing here! She says it way better than I could. You know how you just meet someone and you instantly adore them? Yup! That's PKM!


I snuck in an hour yesterday and an hour today to Farm. I am still totally a wife! I picked two easy blocks: Economy and End of Day. I needed blocks I could finish quick, have fun with and not feel like I've been abandoning you guys & Angela! I'm hoping once I'm back on my feet I'll do 3 a week until I'm caught up, until then I'll just post one block a week. When PKM & I hung out I got some new 1/4 yards for my blocks & I'm excited to cut into them. I really love End of Day (the bottom block) it looks fancy when it's really incredibly easy.


The Pumpkins teamed up with the ultra talented Melody Miller! You can now cross stitch her BEE!!! So awesome right? I'm dying to make it!

Sewing Summit is just around the corner! Literally! I booked my flight this weekend and I'm excited and NERVOUS. I think it's going to be a fantastic time and I've been working my butt off getting ready for my class. (I see that photo & I realize I've lost a LOT of weight! eeee!!!!) If you've wanted to meet your online friends, take classes from some super passionate people and have a sewing filled weekend you should totally come! I'm rooming with Karyn & Katherine.  I have a whole list of people I'm excited to hug and jump up & down with in real life. I'm thinking by Sunday I'll have no voice from all the shouting and talking! If your coming to Sewing Summit, leave me a comment; I'd love to check out some new blogs & put some names with faces!

I'm off to knit and watch the season finale of Torchwood! PKM got me interested in it...and of course we chatted about the greatest tv show on earth...HAVEN! She's one of the only people I know who watches!


{~*2011 Butte County Fair & It's FRIDAY!*~}

Last night Chop & I swung by the fairgrounds to see how my entries fared and it was a REALLY fun experience.

ALL MY CANNED GOODS WON. Everything had a ribbon. That felt so incredibly AWESOME!

Here's how they went:

  • Danish Cherries & Honey Peach Butter- 1st place
  • Cinnamon Cranberry Relish, Peach BBQ sauce, Plum Vanilla Sauce- 2nd place
  • Peach Bellini- 3rd place

That's so cool right? After last Saturday's class of canning students and this win, I am feeling GOOD about canning. Even if I didn't win, I'd feel rad, but heck, ribbons!? Great! There were a lot of entries too.

The downside?

None of my quilts got ribbons! I entered:

Swoon, Oregon Star, Pink & Brown Log Cabin with the tiny middle star & All in a Row table runner.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bummed. I am!

Not to justify it or make it sound like I was wronged, but I entered Swoon into Holiday Quilts- there was an entire section just of holiday quilts hanging together...but Swoon was hanging in a completely different section! Like 4 rows away! So maybe it was entered wrong? And then my tablerunner should have been with all the kitchen stuff...but it was hanging with my mini quilts. Hmmm. Either way, it's ok! I'm hoping someone sees them and is inspired! And gets excited about quilting and realizes there is an entire world out there beyond the "quilting norm".

I honestly am so freaking proud of myself just for ENTERING. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. It's one thing to post a photo to flickr, it's another thing to enter it for judging by strangers who have NO clue who Heather Ross is, or care about "what's trendy" in quilting. It was a big chance that someone would get it and that's totally ok!

Mark your calendars because this girl is teaching Autumn Comfort Baking on October 1st in Redding, CA at That Kitchen Place on Hilltop! It was a blast teaching canning and I'm so excited that they invited me back to teach baking. The classroom is incredible, you can watch what I'm doing on the stove via mirrors and tv screens, so there is NO bad seat in the house! Recipes will include Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread & Spicy Chai Vanilla Muffins. Call (530) 222-1160 to book your slot!

I visited Tracey this week and she taught me how to make dresden plates. Oh boy. How great are dresdens?! I made two and I'm hand appliqueing them onto their backgrounds. One will stay mini, the other somehow became an idea for a throw yesterday.

I've still been a Farmer's Wife, I've just been BAD about blogging them. I took a photo of one of my blocks, someone left a snarky comment, I got discouraged and deleted it. But now if you are curious about my blocks, you can visit this blog and at the bottom of the left hand side, there is a SLIDESHOW of all of them! That's so cool right? It takes a minute or two to load though. Next week my Farmer's Wife post will be HUGE, an entire months worth of blocks to share with you! Angela is going right along beautifully! She's pro at Farmer's Wifedom, blogging & being organized!

Aneela made All in a Row! What the WHAT! How freaking cool is that?! She mentions not having Halloween fabric...um...guess who needs to remedy that situation STAT? ME! I'm so making her a little packet of goodies.

So if you'd be so inclined, I'd love it if you could vote for me! Voting lasts until September 1st and I know, I sound like a broken record but please please please take a second and vote!

What are you up too this weekend? Anything good?

{*~Canning, Baking, Binding~*}

I've had a stomach virus all week. So lame. Haven't sewn. Haven't done much of anything except sleep, cross stitch a tiny bit and be slightly stressed. But I had a TON of peaches, tomatoes and cherries that if I didn't do something with, they would have spoiled, so I bucked up and spent the day canning.

It was a good day! I've started listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. It's so amusing. Jim doing Luna Lovegood slays me. I did learn that cheapest isn't best, I bought a $4 cherry pitter at the hardware store, thinking there really wasn't a difference between it and the $16 OXO one (amazon sells it for $12, but I try to buy local.) Welp, big shock, it broke yesterday and stabbed my finger open. This is the last batch of cherries for the season but I know I'm definitely buying the OXO one for next season!

I ended up making 9 jars of Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce (Ball Complete pg 263 double batch, added cinnamon and ) 6 jars of Danish Cherry (Ball Complete pg 186- used Agave instead of Corn Syrup, doubled the amount of almond extract) and 2 jars and 3 ziplock bags of Fig Balsamic Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I got my Fig Balsamic from my mom, but you can buy it here. It's made in the town that Chop grew up in so that's kind of neat! They make super yummy stuff!

For the sauce I filled a baking dish with tomatoes cut into chunks, sliced onions, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, a red bell pepper (our first one off our plant!), a big glug of the fig balsamic vinegar, some EVOO. We have a pretty big grill, so I turned on the outer two flames on medium and set the dish in the middle. The temp was about 375-400. I would go outside and give it a good stir every once in a while for about an hour. I don't put it on direct heat because I like some bits being really caramelized and others being mellow. It bubbles and cooks brilliantly. Once it was mostly liquid and had some good brown bits, I ran it through the food processor. I added bottled lemon juice to each jar and canned it using a 35 minute water bath and 5 minute rest. I also took a few sandwich sized zip lock bags and filled them and stuck them in the deep freeze. I like having a chunk of frozen sauce to toss in the crock pot with chicken and couscous.


For the Danish Cherry Baked Goodness. I took one 1/2 pint jar of cherries and dumped it into a butter greased pyrex. It's topped with cinnamon, salt, old fashioned oats, flour, brown sugar and for the butter I used a browned honey butter I keep in the fridge. The topping is so easy to make, it's essentially from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and to be completely honest, I don't measure anything, I just toss what looks like a good amount of each in a bowl, squish with my fingers until it looks crumbly and just sprinkle it on top, bake for 15 minutes at 375. Easy peasy. This is enough for 2 people. Or one person who really loves baked treats! I honestly get confused by a buckle, crumble, brown betty, cobbler, etc...so I refer to everything as "baked goodness". ;)

One thing I do when canning is take notes. I like to note where I bought the fruit, how ripe it was, what changes I made, exactly how long I cooked things for, etc. My notebook is filled from this summer and that makes me REALLY excited. It seems like people always want recipes but I rarely use them. I like improv cooking; a little of this, a little of that.

I'm spending the morning binding and drinking gatorade. I can't wait to blog about my finished Swoon! It's being dropped off tomorrow morning for the Butte County Fair that takes place the last weekend in August! I'm soooooo excited! Do you like my little gray dish? Ashleigh made him for me! I keep my binding supplies in it.

I hope you guys have a nice weekend! I'm crossing my fingers I'll get caught up on emails and Farmer's Wife blocks when I feel less green.