H-owl over this one…

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It’s been quite a long time since I’ve made a kitsch softie; and I’m not sure why this is.

Of course, I’ve made a few in recent months for babies being born, but nothing just on a whim. For some reason last night, as I could not sleep but wanted to avoid any cabling or constantly changing yarns, I gravitated toward making a softie, but not one I’ve done before.

Enter my latest companion, Omar, as I’ve aptly named him, who is loosely based on Egret Effects’ Asra Owl. I used her lovely and easy to read pattern for the body and head, as well as the wings and beak, but deviated on the eyes (instead using a combination of crocheted circles and plastic marble eyes…since I’m not gifting this to a baby, of course, lest the plastic marbles be out for safety concerns…bring on the older kittens!) and opted against feet and belly, as well as contrasting colors (except on the underside of the wings, which I did in a nice sky blue).

Omar still needs ears, which I think I’m going to adapt myself, rather than fraying the yarn as in the Asra Owl pattern.

File Under: Who wants an Omar Owl of their own? I’m only using O names–so I’ll gift you an Orlando, an Olive, an Ocatavio, an Olaf, or heck an Oleg.

Spoken soft to me…I conjured up my own Bobble Boss!

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Always one addicted to the beautious designs of my fellow knitting and crocheting compatriots across the interwebs, I recently fell absolutely in love with the work of a one Softspoken (which I mentioned at Kraftworkin’ awhile back, as well as bought one of her beautiful crochet berets a week or two back), and that is not limited to these amazing Bubble Rounds she recently conceived of and now sells in her shop.

That being said, I always like a challenge. And after seeing her amazing Bubble Rounds, I decided I wanted to try and conceive of my own based on her photos of the lovely project.

And just that I did.

I’m really pleased with the outcome. What a splendid design, really. So go buy some of Soft Spoken’s Bubble Rounds because you won’t regret it. Or figure out how to make one yourself; that’s what “crafting” is all about right?

You can check out a whole bunch more photos of what I call my Bobble Boss over at my Flickr set.

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These colors sure aren’t “square”…

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More amazing photos of the “Not So Square” granny afghan I’m slowly working on. Every couple of nights, I’ll take to making a few more circles, in the hopes of getting toward 70 for the throw of sorts I desire to make.

You can check out even more photos of the progress on “Not So Square” over at my Flickr.

And even though this project is probably going to take me quite a bit longer than most others, it is absolutely addicting to work on. So many possibilities and the fact you never have to follow any rules when making the initial circles–pick colors and fire away.

File Under: Loving flex.

Stashing away in this weather…

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With some glorious vacation from work ahead of me (save for answering tech questions via skype and email), I decided to hop to in scouring my stash for sample yarns that will work for comissioned knitting projects several readers have asked for of late. It’s really important to first send sample photos of the yarns you want to use to guarentee you and the buyer are on the same page.

That being said, while scouring, I found an excellent yarn for a project I’d love to make for myself. All in all, a win win!

It’s Monday Night…and I’m avoiding that afghan again…

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Because I clearly have issue finishing a project before beginning yet another one, and because I am avoiding the fact that my Come Monday Night (which came a long time ago…and went) afghan might soon involve a major hunt to find more skeins of the yarns used (eek! why do I always start an afghan without planning out and counting over the skeins available in my stash!? I do this EVERY afghan and it’s nearly always a struggle to find the exact colors again, as some are always bound to be sold out, discontinued, or otherwise unavails…), I have taken to rolling out a bunch of new circles for a giant granny square crochet afghan, which will be anchored by one brilliantly bright color as yet undecided but wavering towards yellow or white.

For some reason of late, I’ve taken completely to crochet; I go through stages, for sure. And right now, that stage has left me a happy hooker. No worrying about dropping stitches off my needles and the like.

This afghan will undoubtedly take quite some time; I’ve got about 10 of these circles completed (without their ends weaved in of course) and I figure I’ll need upwards of 100+ to make a nice large afghan, but it’s a pleasure so far.

At least the “Come Monday Night” is getting much larger. Must force self to work on it since it’s a wedding gift…but can’t seem to muster….

Check out more shots of the circles for this afghan at my flickr set.

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Chain me up! I’ve started a new project…

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Even thought I have a whole host of projects to finish up, last night I cast on a new one inspired by some summer scarves I’ve seen around the internets, particularly Soft Spoken’s Chain Drop Circles Scarf (apparently the brilliant designer Rachel is a former librarian who turned to creation to make $$ after librarianship bored her to tears! love it! –for that connection alone, I should buy one of her creations. In fact, I will. Straight away…maybe one of her gorgeous berets). It’s basically going to be a “chain style” scarf, which is made up of tens of crocheted chains that drape like a scarf. Trust me, it sounds weird, but it actually is gush worthy. Like a scarf necklace. Although I can only guess how Soft Spoken’s were made, I’m having at it to make one for myself–and if it doesn’t work out as I intended, I’ll buy one of those. For now, I like a challenge.

And I’ll be sure to add Soft Spoken’s blog to my daily reading pleasure. She is amazing!

I began mine with a size H crochet hook and some bronze colored merchantized cotton I’ve had lying around for more than a year with no plans in mind after I ditched the original project the skeins were procured for–a patchwork cotton knitted afghan that just wasn’t working out as I envisioned (hmm…what to do with the swatches already made?). The yarn is from Peru and its absolutely delicious for this project.

Holding two skeins together, I just created a foundation chain, slip stitch knotted the chain when I thought it was appropriate length, made note of the number of chains, and duplicated it. So I have one long set of chains. I think I’ll have to break them apart in the long run and bind them somehow in the back because it’s being a little weird. It might have been better to chain the first one and join it to the start with a slip stitch, then repeat that process, rejoining them all at the same spot…but I kind of think that would have been a big jumbled mess and I might have accidently twisted chains if I wasn’t careful. If it turns out o.k., I could tweek it over time?

Or just buy one? Eh, I like to see if I can make it myself…

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Ok, so I buy a lot of tomes yet I’m a librarian…’book me’ for my crimes…

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There’s something absolutely relaxing about spending a rainy afternoon in a local bookshop. I’ve been known to spend upwards of hours just purusing the shelves for reads of any kind–fiction, non, cooking, knitting, and the like. It’s like the bookshop and I are soulmates, everlasting companions, and downright addicted to each other–I get the experience of touching the books, stacking my new to buy pile high and lamenting for .3 seconds about the coins I’m about to drop, and reading those little cards staff members write to convince you to pick up the tome, while the bookstore has me browsing and taking all my dollars. Symbiosis? Methinks.

And on my latest trip to the bookshop, I picked up a splendid set of summer reads to get me started. My list is ever-growing, but I know for sure these will be gobbled in the coming weeks:

1. Cakes and Ale by M. Somerset Maugham

2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

3. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

4. My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond

5. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

6. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

7. The Astonishing Life of Ocatavian Nothing: Traitor of the Nation Vol 1. The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

8. Friction by Joe Stretch

Some of these I’m pretty ashamed I have yet to read, but then again, I just saw some interesting article about “How to Fake Like You’ve Read” a particular book because its absolutely impossible to have read everything, mathematically…so, I guess I can say it’s o.k. that I’m not getting to Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Ceremony” until now even though it is considered one of the greatest American Indian novels of all time–I was busy being pushed by my family to read A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris, Navaho Have Five Fingers by T.D. Allen, The Road to Dissapearance by Angie Debo, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, Prison Writings by Leonard Peltier, Tracks and Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, and a whole host of stuff by Sherman Alexie, one of my favorite Indian fiction writers.

The list is going to get longer, too. With vampires all the craze, I want to revisit Bram Stoker’s Dracula, since it’s been nearly a decade since I read it and my sister just did a re-read of it. And I have a few other Native books on my list, including that Y.A. book from Sherman Alexie, as well as getting back to Roots by Alex Haley, which I just started last week and its so mesmerizing but absolutely too large to tackle in bed.

What does your summer reading look like?

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It has certainly been something like ‘100 Days, 100 Nights’…

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Finally…I have taken to updating more of my Flickr fotos, complete with loads of projects I concoted over the winter months of Bostonian turmoil, longing, depression and the like. I guess all those aforementioned reasons will explain why I got around to basically getting nothing done in terms of pushing all that crafty magic out to you until now.

More importantly, I’ll be releasing patterns for some of the stuff–free and pay for play.

As always, one of my bestest friends in the world, Harry S. Cahill, took most of the photography. Clearly, you see the genius, as do I. He actually has a gifty going his way for all the photo-ing work he’s done for me in the past. Here’s to hoping I can bribe him to do more…

Let me know what you think of any of these projects. As always, I can make something for you made to order if you like. Just shoot me an email. Eventually, I’ll put stuff up in the Etsy shop for purchase if you are so inclined but I need to create some solid inventory first.

The monotony of this uploading work comes courtesy Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings doing “100 Days, 100 Nights”. You’re welcome in advance.

A cake of another sort…

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Tonight I wanted a simple meal that would be entirely filling…and I think I hit it well.

Again, I headed over to the always amazing, always reliable, and always salivate-inducing Smitten Kitchen–but this time it was no browsing…I immediately knew what I wanted: potato pancakes.

Ever since I ordered some Zaftig’s famous potato pancakes last week to go (as a dinner option) after my lunching, subsequently forgetting them on the table when I left, and did not realize until hours after I’d gotten home, I’ve been dying for some potato-ey goodness. And good, good, good was her recipe. It was light, yet delish and so easy to cook up.

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Instead of using small grated onion in mine, I substituted with green onions, which was subtle and light kind of like tonight’s weather. And since I didn’t have a cheese cloth on hand, I settled for good ol’ paper towels to wring out the shredded potato so the batter didn’t end up watery–and it surprisingly worked really well, too. Noted: cheese cloth not a necessity but be sure to repeat the process of squeezing the grated potato more than once (I chose twice in 10 minutes–letting it sit betwixt first and second so most of the potato starch/juice would float to the bottom of the bowl).

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The potatoes should be as dry as possible to the touch before whisking flour, egg, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. I then stirred in my deeelish potato shreds and coated as well as I could. It looked like my flour-egg wash mixture wasn’t going to be enough when I first started–but fear not! Keep swirling those potatos around in the mixture and it will eventually coat every last drop, believe it or not.

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I fried mine up real quick, and served them with a pile of spring mix greens lightly dressed in a homemade oil and champagne vinegar concoction. Oh, of course, I enjoy my potato pancakes with unsweetened applesauce and sour cream, but I fully intend on remixing this meal tomorrow with the leftovers: envisioning now a glorious “breakfast for dinner” type thing by poaching up an egg and putting it over a potato pancake and some leftover greens. Yuuum.

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Chins without beards deserve no honor.

So says a beyond brilliant Spanish Proverb that I’ve always desired to drop in a social setting somewheres. So wait for it…

That being said, yes, I definitely took the plunge and bought this amazing “Beards Are Sexy” tshirt, courtesy of the delishhh etsy shop of The Bold Banana.

The reasons?

1. I think beards are sexy…or at least, beards on the right sorts of people (namely fellows…fellows who also have good, robust facial hair of the non-patchy kind)

2. Who can deny themselves a tshirt that says something so utterly simple yet outrageous?

It was totally worth it too; just $14, the shirt looks high quality. Quite frankly, though, I could care less if it was of the highest quality. It could have a wee hole in the armpit and I’d probs still buy it.

You find anything on Etsy lately?

(Side note: track all sorts of things I’m interested in but don’t think to blog up over at my twitter. Follow, please!)

No, it’s not knitting a ‘raspberry beret’…still, I think I love her…

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It’s been quite some time since I took to the kitchen and baked. Sure, I’ve experimented quite a bit with regular ol’ meals–but nothing in the way of sweet treats. And for some reason today, while purusing cooking blogs, figured it was high time I hit the mixing bowls and measures.

And wow was it a success.

Originally thinking I might try out a really intriguing version of the snicker doodle cookie, the blondie bar by My Baking Addiction, and while I fully intend on baking these, say, this weekend, I settled on an absolutely mouthwatering Raspberry Buttermilk Cake by The Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking blogs ever.

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The recipe was as simple as can be. The cake turned out absolutely moist and the batter is brilliantly subtle and not sweet, giving the raspberries ample opportunity to flex their sweet and tart inside your mouth; what’s more, they’ve become hot, bloated and nearly smoosh in the oven, making them so rich.

This is honestly one of the most delicious coffee style cakes I’ve ever made. The dusting of sugar ontop the raspberries before baking creates this slight crunch–but its so much more intriguing and suble than a cobbler crunch.

I love. love. love. this cake. I will make it for everyone I know. And we can eat it together over copious cups o’ coffee because this is absolutely perfect for such occasions. Swooning commence.

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Come Monday Night…came and went…

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This what happens when you feverishly work on an afghan late at night–giant balls of unraveled yarn since you were so tired and oblivious to the fact you made an error in the pattern six rows prior…

…and repeated that error every row.

Re-doing a whole bunch of rows. Looks like progress on that “Come Monday Night” afghan…welp, came and went.

Check out the “Come Monday Night” afghan in progress at its Flickr set.