see ya' later, alligaattori

We're moving across the country, and then going on an extended vacation! So, take care, so long, aidaa (Estonian), hyvästi (Finnish), sveiki (Latvian), sudie (Lithuanian), and see you in September!


toque number three

And for my final trick, a soft blue toque with some fun yarn woven in...

That is, I'm waiting for a magical transformation, because the yarn isn't even on the needles yet. I've been distracted as of late -- packing for the move.

Who was it who said you can never have enough books??


merci, thank you, grazie

I am totally indebted to one of my friends for all of her help this past year, and I wanted to give her a token of gratitude that could be enjoyed over an extended period of time. This book of gifts has ten envelopes, each of which is filled with a little something (I can't tell you -- I don't want to ruin her surprises!) She can chose to open them all at once, but I've given her a little clue on the outside of the envelope in case she wants to open them individually on a fitting occasion.

This kind of book of gifts would be fun to do as a wedding present or bridal shower gift too...


the first of many galettes

Why have I not made a galette before? It's so rustic and delicious (translation: easy, messy, and you're tempted to eat all of it.) Galette just sounds like it couldn't be that simple, but perhaps that's just my fear for the French language in general.

Last night at 10:14pm I was craving something sweet and fruity. I unrolled my thawed puff pastry, peeled and sliced a few apples, took a couple handfuls of berries from the freezer and voila! -- a full-fledged dessert was baking in the oven!

apple & berry galette
serves 5-6 (or fewer if it is serving a late-night craving...)

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 C frozen berries -- optional
squeeze of fresh lemon juice (I didn't use any in this one, but my apples may have suffered for it)
3-4 teas granulated sugar
ground cinnamon
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven 375. Unroll puff pastry (about 10" square) and put the parchment paper it comes wrapped in on a baking sheet. Place puff pastry on the lined baking sheet.

In a bowl, stir together apples, berries (if using), butter, lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon, and a couple teaspoons of sugar. Mound in the middle of the pastry square, leaving a 2" border of pastry around the fruit. Pull pastry border up and over the edge of the fruit, leaving the fruit in the center bare. The pastry will kind of pleat as you work your way around the fruit.

Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Sprinkle about a teaspoon or so of sugar over the whole galette. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pastry is golden and apples are tender. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving (some of the juices will get reabsorbed).


toque number two

This toque is for my cousin who loves purple. This yummy Lily Chin yarn is so soft -- it's a 60:40 blend of merino wool and fine angora. (And you can't beat 6 bucks a skein!)

The diamond pattern is from a knitting book I borrowed from the library. I returned it already and I don't remember the name, but the title had some variation of the terms "knitting" and "hats" if that helps you narrow it down at all...


toque number one

I'm ashamed to admit that this gift is three years late. When I was in Finland in 2004, I told three of my cousins that I'd send them each a handmade toque. Umm, yeah. Never happened. Now that I'm returning for a visit this summer, I had better increase the pace of my progress so I won't be showing up empty handed.

This hat is the first of the three and has been a work-in-progress for over a year now. I really do like knitting with this kind of slub yarn (spun to alternate between thick and thin), so I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to finish this hat.

Perhaps once a project sits at the bottom of the knitting basket for a while, gravity works harder to keep it there. Yeah, that's it. I blame physics. =)


oh la la! chocolate mint cookies

I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter.

~ Anonymous

These are quite possibly the best chocolate cookies you've ever tasted. Seriously, they're that good.

Part of the chocolate chips are melted and the others are added whole, making for a duo-textured chocolate experience. And the mint makes each bite refreshingly sweet. Splurge on the better quality chocolate chips for this one.

chocolate mint snow-top cookies

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 C sugar
1 teas mint extract (I used peppermint)
1/2 teas vanilla extract
2 eggs
powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Melt 1 C chocolate chips in the microwave (stirring often!) or over a double boiler on the stove.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in melted chocolate and extracts. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, then add remaining 1/2 C chocolate chips. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and freeze until firm (20 mins).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-in balls and coat well with powdered sugar. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, until done (until the cookie has expanded and flattened a bit, the top has cracked open, and the powdered sugar parts are firm while the exposed dark chocolate parts are not yet firm). Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so before transferring to a wire rack.

These are best while they are still warm and gooey, so if you're not planning on serving/eating them all right away, put some dough aside in the fridge or freezer for baking off later.


blocking baby blanket

I'm not a blockhead anymore -- I get blocking. Honestly, I've just been too impatient to put in the extra effort (which seems such a ridiculous excuse considering the hours of knitting involved with any project!). Some of my patterned scarves could have used the extra care... oh well.

At least I finally got around to blocking the strips for this baby blanket. The ends lay flat now! And, the strips are equal lengths, which made sewing them together much easier...

It'll be a while before I back it with navy flannel and do all the finishing touches. That's a P.A.M. -- Project for After the Move.


cards o' love

It's summer and you know what that means -- engagements and weddings.

I made these cards for the friends and family who are gettin' hitched soon, or who have just agreed to tie the knot. It had been a while since I had all my card-making stuff out -- I almost forgot just how much fun stamps and scraps of paper can be. =)