sweet brown sweater

I finished it!

It's so soft and simple... and its arms so very long.

*from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies


denim and green tote

My first tote bag with a lining!

I wish I would've thought of including an interior pocket on that lining though... Why is it that not all good ideas strike at once??


in the knitting groove

I am totally in the groove. All it took was a beautiful new knitting book under the tree at Christmas and now I can barely put the needles down.

In fact, I'm so in the groove, I'm knitting in bed. That usually only happens when I'm sick.

This sweet brown will be a sweater for a little one,

...and these blue booties are infant-sized. (The second one has been waiting to be sewn up, but I'm too busy working on that soft sweater.)


chocolate sugar almond bombs

Here's a bonbon that kind of bombed when I tried to make it. I guess chocolate covered almonds are only easy if your chocolate behaves differently than mine did...

The idea of the recipe is to first coat the almonds in a warm sugary cinnamon mixture, then freeze the coated almonds, then pour melted chocolate over the chilled almonds (this is when my process broke down), allow to drip on a wire rack, chill again, then toss in cocoa to coat.

There was no dripping chocolate to be had with mine. The chocolate (perhaps not warm enough?) just glommed on to the almonds, resulting in big globs of sticky chocolate. Very messy!

But, they are quite good, especially the cinnamon crunch beneath the powdery chocolate chew.


goodbye london

This is where a map of London used to hang.

I have been sharing a room with London since about 2001, when Glenda and I framed up a map I bought while we were traipsing through... you guessed it, London.

London saw the walls of Glenda's and my little place in Vancouver, my place in Portland, Jeff's and my place in Toronto, and again, these walls in Vancouver. It was time to put London down.

The Ikea frame lives on (barely.) I just stretched a piece of fabric across the scuffed plexiglas (marred from the second to last of its moves across continent) and taped it to the other side with scotch tape.

I'm not expecting the tape to hold forever, but I think by that time I may be ready to come out of this fine forest.


puffy turtle blanket

Somethin' about these colours make me think of a turtle.

This is one of the simplest blankets I've ever even thought of making. Inspiration came from the Last Minute Patchwork book.

I used an old blue duvet that just keeps. on. giving. (and giving and I still have more!) for the back and some striped bright green fabric for the front. The green doesn't really come through in this picture -- it's quite vivid. I used lofty polyester batting (trying to stay away from the stuff and use cotton instead, but I had some in my stash) and so it just needed a a handful of zipzipzips of red thread to create a 'puffy turtle blanket' for a wee little one.


sticky buns

Hi. Has it been long enough since Christmas breads and buns for this? Are you really serious about your New Year's resolutions or can I tempt you with something sticky sweet and carb-laden?

I know I've mentioned these before, but they really do deserve their own post. Pecan sticky buns (or in this case, walnut sticky buns) are one of my favs. Thanks, Martha Stewart.

You have to plan ahead a bit, as the dough needs to sit overnight and they need to be shaped and rise again in the morning, but I'm telling you they are worth the wait. And since they're best eaten fresh, I'd wait for a time when there aren't just two of you sitting around the fire... although we've done that too.

I rely on my Kitchenaid mixer to do all the work with this recipe. Since I've never tried kneading it all by hand, I'll just give the mixer instructions...

pecan sticky buns
makes 12

1 1/4-oz package active dry yeast
1/2 C plus 1 Tb warm milk (not hot!)
3 C all-purpose flour
1/6 cup granulated sugar
1 teas salt
2 eggs
1/2 pound (2 sticks/1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in pieces, plus more for buttering tins
1 1/2 C pecan halves
1 C light corn syrup (or just get the squeezable bottle and don't bother measuring)
about 2/3 C packed brown sugar
a little more than 1/4 C sour cream
about 1/2 Tbs ground cinnamon -- several shakes of the cinnamon shaker

The night before...

Line a glass baking pan (13x9) with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine yeast and milk. Let stand until the yeast is creamy (10 mins.)

In the bowl of your magic mixer (fitted with the dough hook) combine flour, granulated sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture and eggs. Mix on low until completely combined.

Raise speed to high and add butter, several pieces at a time. When all the butter has been added, continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny. This takes a long time, like 8 to 10 minutes to fast mixing. (Now you see why I entrust this job to a machine.) Transfer the dough to the lined baking pan and spread it out. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning...

Take dough out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature until slightly softened (15 mins.)

Meanwhile, generously butter a standard muffin tin. Chop most of the pecans, and with about 1/2 cup of the pecan halves, split them lengthwise. Keep the two types separate. In the muffin tin, pour a bit of corn syrup in each cup. With my corn syrup in a squeeze bottle (how industrial does that sound, eh?!) I just add enough to cover the bottom, maybe a 1/8-1/4 inch deep. Add about a teaspoon of brown sugar to each and divide the halved pecans among the cups. Set aside.

Roll out dough lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick, and into a rectangle (about 12 x 15 inches.) Spread sour cream over the surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon and 1/3 C brown sugar over the sour cream. Cover the mix with chopped pecans. Roll the dough lengthwise.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 12 slices and place in the muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover muffin tin with parchment paper and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. I put mine on the preheating oven.

Transfer sticky buns to the oven. I recommend placing a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Rotate the pan to get even baking. Bake until buns are dark golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately turn buns out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Replace any pecan halves that fell off the buns, and let cool a bit before eating. Wow. Yum.


mark that book

Need a bookmark? How about one with a photo on it?

Here are a few that Jeff got in his stocking -- scenes from 2008.