2.26.2010

I'm So Excited...

How cool is this?! A yarn crawl and scavenger hunt?! In Portland!!! YIPPEE!!!! There are so many local yarn stores in Portland. We are completely spoiled for choice. I've visited only a small number of these stores, though, the ones along my well traveled routes through town. The yarn crawl will provide just the reason to visit all of the other more far-flung shops. Click here for more info on the Portland Yarn Crawl, March 5,6, and 7.

2.24.2010

Luscious & Lemony



Tuesday, the rain returned to Portland. Actually, I really enjoyed the return of the rain. I've been soaking in the early signs of spring, dreaming about flowers and dresses and fresh asparagus. But, truth is, I'm not quite ready to let go of winter. I like the rain and the soft grey sky. I like layering on sweaters and scarves and heading out to feel the cool air on my face. I like staying inside and enjoying a nice cuppa while knitting on the couch. Winter is good. It comforts.

Of course, sometimes I need a little brightness. When that's the case, there's nothing like lemon bars to perk things up, especially made with meyer lemons. I have a lemon bar recipe that I've been using for several years and it never fails to please. I clipped it from a magazine that Target was publishing for a while. Yeah, I was surprised, too. These bars are lighter in texture than a lot of others I've tried, and they aren't overly sweet. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Bars
Makes 32

Crust
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter (not margarine)
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 lg. egg white

Filling
3/4 c. granulated sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg white
2 tbs all-purpose flour
Confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. Make the crust: In a small bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Melt butter over med-high heat, swirling in pan until it turns a nutty brown, about 1 minute. Pour browned butter into a mixing bowl. Add canola oil & egg white; beat until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until blended. Dough will be crumbly. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the bakign pan. Bake 15-20 min, ur until crust is slightly puffed and begins to brown around the edges.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, egg white and flour. Pour filling over the hot crust. Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until set. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into 2-inch-by-1-inch bars and dusting with confectioner's sugar.

Save the extra egg yolks and make a batch of lemon curd. My current favorite recipe comes from the River Cottage Family Cookbook. It's great on toast, pancakes, scones... I highly encourage you to make a batch to help bridge the gap between the last days of winter and the first days of spring!

Finished Objects

Hi! Did I miss anything? It's been a while... I was feeling a bit discouraged about posting without the benefit of a camera. BUT, my sister came to my rescue and lent me her camera (Thanks, Lex!) and I finally have pictures to share.

While I've been quiet here, I've been very busy elsewhere - lots and lots of knitting and sewing happening. So, where should I start? I don't want to overwhelm... I guess that today I'll show you some of my recent finished knitting. I think I mentioned a couple of these here.

This is my rendition of Erika Knight's Tank Top, which I call the Petal Vest because the yarn is the palest pink. It was a very satisfying quick knit, and the yarn is soooooo soft.


Next is the Delicious. I really love this sweater. It's cozy, but light enough that I'll be able to wear it into the spring. It has yet to make it's public debut, I've been waiting for just the right outing. Don't you just love it's vintage lines?


Finally, my first submission for the Ravelympics, Arran. Isn't it Gorgeous?! After nearly a week of sunny and warmish weather here in Portland, Mother Nature obliged me with a cool day so that I could wear Arran before Spring is truely with us. The yarn for this is the softest ever. I used it once before in a sweater for Ryan and an attorney in his office suggested it would make nice boxers... There's a little left, so maybe I'll whip up a fabulous slouchy beret to wear next winter.

I'll leave it here for now, 'cause there is still quite a bit of show & tell to come.

2.12.2010

This Just In


Have you checked out Collette Pattern's fantastic blog? The line is by ubertalented local designer Sarai. Today she posted the free pattern for these absolutely adorable bloomers. I can't wait to make a pair!

Truth is, I've been wanting to make my own underpants for a while now. For several years it's been on my mind. It's so difficult finding decent underpants, don't you think? I guess my expectations are too high for the market to meet. I want something cute and comfortable and affordable. Crazy, right? After so long thinking and searching for design inspiration and seeing work others have done (specifically Amy), I think maybe I'm ready to give it a go. I'll let you know how it works out!

Have a great weekend and a Happy Valentine's Day, folks!

2.10.2010

A Sunny Afternoon


Yesterday was a glorious, warm (relatively), sunny day. I spent the whole afternoon out. After dressing up in my newly finished charcoal wool skirt, I met Ryan for lunch at the Deschuttes Brewery. They have a an entire gluten-free menu, and brew a really yummy root beer (also gluten-free). It's such a treat to have a weekday lunch together, and an especial treat to be able to order freely at a restaurant without being tempted to cheat on my dietary restrictions.


After lunch, I stopped into Powell's and picked up this new sewing book. It's been out for a while now, and featured on many, many blogs, so I was pretty excited to get my own copy. I've taken a couple of pattern-drafting classes. It's a simple enough process, but I needed an approachable guide to remind me of the steps and help me through. There are instructions for drafting a basic button-down shirt, t-shirt, dress, pants, and skirt, plus several variations on each. I'm going to have a whole new wardrobe in no time!



Next, I went across the street to Anthropologie. They were restyling the store, which was fascinating. Their displays are always so fabulous, so the store looked quite naked with everything pulled off the walls. After looking longingly at all of the gorgeous clothes and home decor, I focused in on a basket of tights on sale, and bought a pair in my favorite shade of peacock blue, the exact color of the lining of my skirt! Above are some of the other socks I was admiring. Those pom poms just kill me!


On my way home, I walked by Cargo, and couldn't resist going inside. It's so festive and bright and fun, both outside and in. They have all sorts of fabulous treasures, from inexpensive trinkets (like Chinese Finger Traps and lip-shaped whistles), to imported antiques and oddities (baskets of antique saris and majhong tiles), to one-of-a-kind jewlery. I resisted buying any treats to take home with me, but mostly because there were too many from which to choose!

When I got home, I flew about the apartment finishing some chores and enjoyed the late afternoon sun streaming through the front windows. Our apartment is really so beautiful when the sun shines in...

Today, the rain and gray skies are back and I've slowed back down. I'm still working on the last of my tea and listening to the rain spattering outside. It's late to still be snuggled into my flannel robe, but I'm enjoying the luxury. I think I'll bake a batch of our favorite oatmeal cookies this afternoon. The butter is already softening on the counter. Maybe I'll cut out the fabric for a new dress to wear this spring. Also, I still desperately need to swatch for my Ravelympics projects, as well as decide what to take to Open Knitting at Close Knit tonight. Better get busy!

2.03.2010

Granny Chic


Still no word on the camera. I'm beginning to feel discouraged, but am still hopeful. The owners of the B&B where we stayed in Minnesota went on vacation the day after our departure. Hopefully I'll hear back from them soon. If not, I guess it's about time to look for a new camera. There are so many finished and soon-to-be-finished projects to share with you...


I was looking back at photos downloaded before we left, and found a couple of an outfit I put together for a big day out. I call it "Granny Chic," because the blouse and the gold locket both once belonged to Grandma Ruby and because the look is pleasantly frousy. The skirt is one that came, unfinished, from Mom. I cut several inches off the bottom before adding the hem, and also added a closure to the waist band. It's made of a lovely, heavy, dark blue wool. The vest is one I knit myself from alpaca, and it features vintage buttons purchased at The Button Emporium. (I love that the vest creates the illusion of a bust-line, as I am naturally quite lacking in that area!) The pink sweater has been kicking around the wardrobe for several years now.



I really love to wear layers, partly because they're practical (our apartment is quite drafty), and partly because they allow me to mix lots of colors and textures. I LOVE texture! This outfit pairs the crisp, pintucked cotton with the slightly rough wool, the incredibly soft alpaca and the smooth leather of the boots. Fantastic.

This may not come as a shock to you, but dress-up was my favorite play as a child. Even when I wasn't playing dress-up, my everyday outfits tended to be, umm, creative. Mom has a picture somewhere of me at about 3-years-old wearing an outfit I put together myself. It consisted of a cherry red t-shirt with apple green shorts over cherry red tights - a very fashion forward look! About 10 years later, I remember drawing looks at school when I wore an orange poplin tunic over a long-sleeved black t-shirt and short black corduroy skirt with a wide black patent leather belt. I might mention this was worn in the spring, though it didn't even occur to me that orange and black was classic Halloween.

Over time, I started to tone down my dressing, to the point where I was feeling decidedly frumpy. However, over the last year, as I've had a chance to rebuild my wardrobe, I'm indulging in expression. I want how I dress to reflect how I feel and who I am. While I may never again wear cherry red ('cause I just don't do red, folks), dressing is fun again. And, since I live in such an incredibly creative city, even my most interesting outfits are far more tame than so much of what can be seen on the streets!