Whale’s tail? Nope, tale.

img00123

I quite highly recommend that you read a thrilling tome about the history of whaling in America by Eric Jay Dolin. The book, Leviathan, is absolutely brills, really, with no detail left unturned and a comprehensive history of England and the role its “entrepreneurs” and “explorers” played on the entire practice.

And for those of you in the Massachusetts area like myself, it’s an excellent local history–with a particularly strong focus on Nantucket, green hands, and the weird superstitions whaling communities held in the early days of the Americans. What’s more, there are a number of thrilling tales about the role of Native Americans, which I can always dig, too, since, welp, I am one.

File Under: Epic storytelling makes this dense read feel less like learning and more like adventure.

Long nights, hard times…everything that makes you feel….tired?

p10110781

The home stretch for knitting, crocheting, and other assorted homemade gifties for Christmas has arrived…and I will feverishly be spending the next few days trying to complete any projects on the needles (or hooks), as well as conceive of and start several others in my brain, like I’ve been doing for as many late nights in recent weeks, including getting a little experimental with super bulky yarn and a honkin’ big crochet hook.

For some reason this Christmas time, I’ve been knitting and crocheting up wearables in the brightest of colors. I’m trying to make everyone I know look like they’ve been swimmingly in a vat of colored corn syrup, or something.

And so the countdown begins…3 days and some change to go….be sure that I’ll post my results of this knit-a-thon after everything is gifted out.

Happy crunch time to all my fellow crafters!

Peasant 3 was sure to note, “Well, she turned me into a newt!”

p1011067

…thank you, Monty Python.

There’s nothing better than breaking bread with a friend, something I’ve been trying to make a habit of lately. While my wrists are just about killing me from all that dough kneading, those moments when the loaf cracks in two and the crusty crumbs fly everywhere, make those pains in my joints sort of, moot.

I’ve recently tackled the French Traditional Braided Peasant Loaves, which have an exhaustive rising sesh (…dedicate at least 2 hours to letting the dough puff up and punch down), but the crunchy, crusty outside (made possible by a nice egg white wash) generally makes all that time consumption worth it.

p1011091

This recipe is available in Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, which is kind of my obsession since receiving it as a birthday gift this fall. I highly reccommend this book for any bread baker–its got simple yeast breads and more ambitious starter breads, so the extreme bread baker and the amateur are all pleasethed much. You can find the recipe fo this exact Braided Peasant Bread, courtesy of the Google Books project (geeky libarian note: I am not sure yet if I embrace the Google Books Project, but damn if it ain’t handy at times).

File Under: Break Bread. Shake crumbs off shirt. Eat. Enjoy.

p1011102

A Muppet Christmas Carol? It involves pigs and humbug, right?

in6p5273

Happy (…almost) Christmas, kittens! Sorry you have heard nary a peep from this blog in recent weeks; I have been swamped with work and knitting for gifties that I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write a single thing.

What’s more, I can’t post much these days because most of the projects on the needles will be gifted out in as many days, and don’t want to spoil the surprise.

However, all my Bostonites, as we sit blanketed with several thousand pounds of snow (and a slimmer waistline after hours and hours of shoveling out), there’s nothing better than warming up by a tree. And mine is no different. But mine is small enough that you can actually hug it and get your arms all the way around (…case in point?). Covered in little pearl lighted balls, mini pickles, eggs, and of couse, pigs, it’s quite the perfect little tree.

Don’t you think?

Box of socks…sock of socks? Just, well, socks. In a box. Not as a gift. Yes as a gift?

For some reason, I’ve coveted this box o’ knitting pattern socks for about a year now, mainly because the concept is cool (and same for the box of mittens, etc.). Alas, I’ve always pretty much detested sock knitting until a couple of months ago, when I decided an addiction was taking place because I can knit them up so quickly and never realized how much they were appreciated by all who received them as gifts.

Welp, now I absolutely drool over the thought of The Little Box of Socks by Charlene Church and Beth Parrott, which you can acutally get used for about $6 on Amazon. I really don’t know what I’m waiting for? This all comes to mind because I finished yet another pair last night, which goes in a stack to be stuffed in various stockings this Christmas…no pun intended!

File Under: Ask me in January if I’ve finally bought this box.

Croch-eeeyy, I want one of those too.

photo-99

Lately, I’ve been absolutely obssessed with crocheting up these absolutely giant 10-foot long scarves in extra-bulky weight yarn. And they are as delicious as I anticipated, like giant ropes of candy around the neck because I’ve stuck to complimenting autumnal tones like apricot or hazelut with bright bits of pink and green and neon yellow.

I have to say, I’m mighty pleased, and in the past four days, I’ve crocheted up about six of these–all to be gifted out (or already gifted out) for Christmas presents for my closest friends and family.

Using a honkin’ big crochet hook–size P–I chained 150 lengthwise and did a row of double crochet and a row of single crochet. The entire scarf was modeled after this brilliant one I saw called “200” by John Brinegar–which you can check out at his blog or in Ravelry. Mine isn’t as long as his and some of them are thicker–and I also used a larger hook and skipped the fringe. Either way, this is a marvelous design and I’m uber pleased with the inspiration and the result of the mods.

I’ve done orange and charcoal colorways, and the one pictured above, which is like a candy colored explosion with no direction. I did one for my friend MacKenzie that’s all deep purples and pinks and oranges and a touch of tweedy white, which was so delicious I thought I’d like one for myself. I’ve also done one that’s mostly greens to be gifted maybe to my brother or sister, and I’ve got one on the hook right now which is all pinks.

Clearly, this is my latest obsession. And an obsession worth making friends with–who knows, maybe I’ll make you one.

p1011055

This is no slamming beer…it’s a sipping one.

As anyone who knows me well understands, if a plan doesn’t work out, and someone slyly mentions “Wouldn’t you rather nod into a pub and have a pint?”, I’m actually running…yes trotting, cantering, and half-passing toward the pub doors (dressage, anyone? in fact, yesterday, all these strides and discussions were used, including the moment in which I informed Mackenzie the owners’ cork their horses’ butts during dressage competitions so as to keep everything lockjaw and proper, of course).

And of course, when the atrociously long lines at Bazaar Bizarre presented, Mackenzie said “Um, drinks instead?” to which I immediately began that canter towards Publick House Provisions, the local in my neighborhood and a constant hangout (trust: if you can’t get in touch with me, check here…first). Publick House serves the best craft beers, and the bar is beautiful, based on traditional Belgian Style drinking exprience, with dark woods, taps that are artwork in and of themselves, stained glass, candled lighting in old Chimay glasses, and of course, fireplaces. There is no better place for enjoying bitters with friends than Publick House, and I daresay it may be the greatest pub I’ve ever been to…and there have been a lot. It’s quiet, it’s intimate, it’s romantic, it’s relaxing, and the tenders know too much about beer, thus making it the ultimate pint spot…that is if you like beers served in remarkable glassware, with high alcohol contents, and of course, incredible ranges of taste.

p1011037

Mackenzie and I ended up staying for hours…and sampled a lot of beers, er, actually, drank a lot of beers. After an unfortunate incident last year involving cases of Harpoon IPA’s Winter Warner, I declared that I hate clovey-spicy-cinnamony beers that taste sweet, i.e. the winter warmer, and I can stay I still  hate spicy beers. But the true Winter Warmers, Belgian Style, that Publick House is offering this season, are remarkable and I am a Belgian Winter Warmer convert. None of them are spicy or filled with clovey junk. They instantly warm you, are robust and incredibly malty, and usually have 12-percent alchohol content, which can never be a bad thing…unless you’re driving, or er, can’t handle your booze, or um, like Miller Lite, for instance.

Mackenzie kicked off the early evening pint extravaganza with a Scaldis Noel, at a whopping 12 percent. It was a brilliant beer and I highly reccommend anyone try this one out. Similarly, I tried a warmer souler Affligem Noel, which was a mere 9 percent to hers, and filled with thick malt flavor. The first sip warmed my soul, and for that, I am ever grateful and don’t intend to drink anymore non-warmer beers for the remainder of December. Unless its Chimay. I make all exceptions for Chimay. My glass had a brilliant hooded man with a splendid goatee on it downing a mug, so what could be better, really?

p1011035

We ended up writing a whole bunch of beers we tried down, like the Alligash Interlude, which is fermented in barrels which housed Merlots and Shiraz wines and all that excitingness and it tasted distinctly yeasty beer while maintaining a fruity nutty wine moment or two. It was excellent. And so was Jack D’Or, a beer out of Holyoke, MA and a Founders Backwoods Bastard, which was rich, dark, and tasted of coffee and sometimes chocolate. Uberdrool. There were more, and so, that meant, splurging on Obligatory Fish and Chips smothered in malt to pad the alcohol consumption fall. Um, Mackenzie is my favoritest person…ever. We gobbled too quickly.

p1011044

After a day of consumption, I crashed into relaxation on my couch close to 11 p.m. and crocheted up some brilliant bulky scarves, which I’ll post here soon.

File Under: Best December Day…ever.

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast? So says Mr. Wilde.

Yesterday, Mackenzie (who brilliantly dressed herself as Russell Brand for Halloween time this year) and I tried to descend on Bazaar Bizarre to check out all the great crafters’ wares, but instead, we were shut out. What’s that you say? Yes, we descended on the Castle around 4ish and found, much to our annoyance, a massive line (massive!) of like-minded crafters showing off their handknit creations in hat form (…a devil horned cap, a weird cloche that was distracting)….and it was snowing. And gray. And cold. And if you know Boston, this combination of issues: massives lines, gray skies, spitting snow, oh the wind! can’t forget the wind, and various extra special pubs around the way that tempt easily, as well as stomachs filled with delicious breakfast, you’d skip out on the Bazaar, too.

And so we did.

But the day started off swimmingly. Mackenzie delighted in wearing her new Braided Tweed Scarf which I finished the night before, although I have to say its not as pretty as the red-pink colorway scarf she was sporting when she arrived–a gift she scooped up for herself on her travels in Spain. We decided to brave the Sunday brunching crowds and attempt to get a table at Trident Booksellers, which is an incredible bookshop with a cafe (serving breakfast all day! and booze!) to gorge ourselves on eggs, bottomless coffee, and such.

p1011030

We got lucky. Mackenzie brilliantly ordered the Monte Cristo Breakfast sandwich, and I lived vicariously through her slow bites and licked lips since I’m off the bacon/Canadian bacon/hamage products. It looks splendid, but mine was equally as good–my favorite breakfast item, eggs benedict, but this with spicy avacado/jalapeno spread, rather than the standard pork product underneath. It was one of the best eggs benedict brunches I’ve ever had.

p1011032

File Under: Brunching on a snowy day with splendid company is better than blowing money on handmade goods, right? I mean, even dull people are brilliant at breakfast…or so says Oscar.

“For those of you who like to scarf your popcorn in the sack, the good news is that Newman’s Own contains an aphrodisiac.”

p1010995

Some nights are about stuffing oversized handfuls of popcorn in your face, hibernating from the whipping wind, and finishing up some projects that have been on the needles for a shamelessly long time. And so, after a busy day running around on Saturday, I came home, collapsed on the couch, decided to embark on a ridiculously bad film fest which included every cheesy mid-2000s teen flick and then an attempt to pay homage to my beloved Doris Day with “Move Over Darling” to cleanse my film flicking palattee. And cleanse it did.

And helped me to finished the Braided Tweed Scarf I’d been making for my good friend Mackenzie for months now (slaps own hand for the absolutely sad length of time it’s taken me to complete this task), which needed a few more cabled rows, a ribbed edging, and ends to be weaved in before I could officially declare the project a success.

p1011015

There’s nothing more pleasurable than staying up late, barely anything stirring, and working my hands to complete gifties for some of the more special people in my life, and this was no exception.The next day, Mackenzie and I had a huge day planned–amidst the threat of snow showers, we planned ahead to attend Bazaar Bizarre over at the Castle downtown to try and scoop up maybe one delicious handmade gift for a Christmas offering (…but more on that later), so I knew I wanted to gift her the scarf in time to protect her neck from any impending ice-flakage.

I’m so pleased with the final results. Mackenzie was, too.

p1011024

Favorite Finds: 1,236 reasons to remain drooling over this rather than wearing it…oh, it’s the price.

yhst-55741217452016_2033_11391665

How badly do I covet this incredible Matchstick Yellow/Rose Gold necklace from Catbird?? I mean, the imagery alone is brilliant–light my fire, you light my flame…and yes, I’m clearly pathetic.

Honestly, the thing is gorgeous and brilliantly understated. Alas, I shall sit and drool over it rather than ever own it, since it’s a whopping $360 bucks in yellow or rose gold.

That’s what you get when you like handmade goods. And of the gold and jewelry variety.

File Under: Sigh.

Bazaar Bizarre…this weekend!

I’m definitely going to check out the winter Bazaar Bizarre on Sunday at the Castle here in Boston downtown. Does anyone want to go?

I had in mind I wanted to check it out, and I’m quite excited to see I actually know some of the vendors who will be selling their crafts at the bazaar like Accacia, who happens to attend library school with me and makes these bicycle caps I always wondered about since I’ve seen her wear them on multiple occasions.
File Under: Let me know if you want in. It’s only a buck. C’mon.

Elaine Harper should have worn this one in Arsenic and Lace…don’t you think?

p10109811

Last night, while unable to nod off, I decided to cast-on the recent pattern by The Purl Bee, called The Lovely Leaf Lace Scarf, which is absolutely gush worthy I knew I immediately had to make it up for my Mum as a Christmas gift.

While I used a more reddish colorway than the example at The Purl Bee, I’m already adoring it. There is similarly a pattern alongside the Lace Leaf one that appears to be a simple Mock Brioche Rib, which as anyone who reads this blog diligently knows is one of my obsessions of late, so I’m glad to see I’m not sitting out on a lonely limb here.

The lace at the bottom edges of this Lacy Leaf scarf are absolutely beautiful and give this scarf a bit of a pop, without losing the warmth that a lace all the way around would not afford. I have to say, it’s moving along really quite quick, as well, which I didn’t think would be the case.

The photos couldn’t capture the lace brilliantly because I used short needles so the 60-some odd stitches are squished on there. But I’ll be sure to post another shot of it once I’m a bit further along.

If you want to make one, I highly reccommend it as a gifty for a Mum, because a Mum would love it and appreciate it more than anyone, methinks. What’s more, the pattern is free, so what are you waiting for?

File Under: My Mum loves Steve Nicks’ “Leather and Lace”…she’ll now have the lace part, anyone want to chip in for the leathers jacket?

p1010984