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Archive for September, 2013

More Crochet

Everything that I have read tells me that crochet is “faster and easier” than knitting.  Well, I’m still not convinced of the “easier” part.  But I did find a project that fulfilled the faster part.

In April one of the many treasures that I brought home from the Yarn Shop Hop was some ropey t-shirt yarn.

I was novelty kind of thing that I would normally not even look twice at.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a yarn snob.  Well….unless it has the world silk in it.  And honestly.  Is there anything better than adding silk to yarn???  But I digress.

What got my attention at the store was the samples.  There were bright colored crocheted baskets.  I was in the midst of Grandma’s flowered afghan, so my crochet skills were flowing.  🙂  I was already wondering if I should make myself my own granny square afghan and here is the perfect bright-colored, small project!  Much easier to tackle vs. a large color-filled afghan!  And “Tee Cakes”?  The name makes me smile and that is what anything yarn related does for me.  Makes me happy in my happy place.

So a bright “cake” of green came home with me.  I did not splurge on a designer hook.  Instead I went to the ever-trusted Michael’s and got a gigantic size N.   I was ready, but there were so many other things to do that came into my summer until about a month ago.

I streamed a classic Bing Crosby movie, Top o’ the Morning….which incidentally had knitting inspiration provided.  This lady looks all smug with herself.  🙂

And while I enjoyed a little Bing, I started and finished my own crochet basket!

It was quick.  But I have not fully embraced the “easy”.  I had forgotten how to single crochet!  So back to all of my helpful blog resources for a refresher.  Then using this large of a hook made my hands cramp like you wouldn’t believe!  Most of that is due to the fact that I am a VERY tight hooker (I think people crochet because it’s so easy to sound dirty 🙂 ).  But I was determined and persevered!

I tried to follow the pattern, and in fact tore it out after finishing it once because I didn’t think the dimensions were right.  But sure enough.  Doing it the second time resulted in the same dimensions.  It looks a little larger in diameter and shorter in height than the ones on Ravelry and in the pattern picture.  But I don’t care.  I eliminated the handles and it is perfect for my guest bathroom!

All of the toiletries that you might have forgotten to pack in your suitcase can now be pulled out of the drawer and set on the counter.  I love it!

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Zucchini Wrapup

It’s hard to believe that it is the end of September.  The flowers are starting to show it.

And so are the trees.  Can you see the tinge of orangey fall color coming on to the tree on the left?

The sky is so blue and temps have been so perfect.  I was home at lunch yesterday and enjoyed the time and views from my deck.

I live in an older established neighborhood which has amazing trees and seeing the beginning of the color change is amazing.

But in looking at the end of summer, I start to look at cleaning up my yard.  I took my very tired zucchini plant out and realized it had been quite a workhorse this summer.  I benefitted greatly from its fruit, shared it abundantly with co-workers, and pretty much got my own little jolly from being able to go out into the yard and pick something to eat!  It’s hard to believe that since I grew up in a farming community that I still find the whole process fascinating.  But I do.

I tried to be more diligent about documenting some of my cooking experiments so that next year I would have a stash of tried and trued recipes.

I had some hits.

Because seriously….if you can mix a vegetable with chocolate and top it with frosting.  How could that go wrong?  The frosting is peanut butter based and so rich and creamy.  The recipe came from one of my Iowa State Fair cookbooks and I absolutely love it!

Then there was the non-sweet experiment.  Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits.  These are so light and freeze really well.  So I can pull a couple of out and put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes and they are perfect to be dunked in tomato soup.  I made a double-batch and will enjoy them all fall!

Then I made a jump back to chocolate, since I tend to go with what has historically worked for me.  This double-chocolate zucchini bread is really good.  I like to make this kind of thing and take it to work.  The compliments are fun and let’s face it…..I don’t need to eat a whole loaf of dessert bread by myself!!

Then we had the….just ok attempts.  Meaning that I liked them, but wasn’t wowed by them.  Could have been user error, or it just isn’t totally my taste.

This quiche was good and probably very healthy for me (compared to some things I eat), but it was slightly too much zucchini for my own personal preference.  But with that being said….it didn’t stop me from eating it!

And typically anything with lemon is a huge hit for me.  And then you call it “lemon loaf”……of course I am going to try it!  The result was a little bland.  The icing was a bigger hit than the bread for me and my co-worker audience.  But again….it didn’t go to waste!

And with all of the attempts you knew there had to be a failure or two.  I only documented one, and mostly because I really wanted to like it.  I really wanted it to be better than it was…..I even tried adding cheese…..isn’t everything better with cheese?  In the end.  Zucchini Fritters are not for me.  I should have know since they don’t even look that appealing (that’s not just bad photography….the subject should get some credit for the bad picture).

But when I look back at what my little zucchini plant did for me.  I am very happy.  I tried several things I wouldn’t have tried without it and I have broadened my vegetable eating horizons.  And I have learned that I prefer peeled zucchini in my baked goods….I don’t want the reminder that I’m eating a vegetable.  And I prefer un-peeled zucchini in my entrees….it evidently makes me feel healthier.  Or maybe it just gives me a mental queue that I might not like the taste.  🙂

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The March Crochet Update

Way back in March while I was watching the end of the college basketball season I started a crochet adventure.  My goal was to give my sister a cool birthday present while completing an afghan that my grandma had started many years ago.  My deadline was Mother’s Day when I would physically see my sister (2 months after her birthday) to give it to her as a birthday gift.

I got it done in time!!!!  And she loved it!

But for the recap and details……Let the Granny Square Afghan saga begin.

Grandma’s squares were the starting point.

And my plain white filler squares would give me the size needed for a blanket.

Them came the joining.  This was the most satisfying for me.  Actually seeing them come together and get some size was the most gratifying!

When I started joining them together I didn’t realize how much the join itself was going to increase the size of the overall project.  So I started with the thought that every other row was going to need to be solid white.  But after completing the first 3 rows I realized that instead of being 9 squares across, it only needed to be 7.  This resulted in more flowers to fill in the plain white rows.

Do you notice that the photo above still has one solid white row in it?  The explanation for that is simple….the deadline.  I simply didn’t want to waste precious time by taking out a whole row of joined sqares.  I thought I would wait and see how the timing progressed to see if I would have time to do it at the end.

I didn’t.

So my solution was that I would make it a “design feature” and do a solid white row on the second to last row of each end.  The entire thing did end up being longer than a throw, but is perfect for her over 6′ husband or to be used on a twin bed.

The random mix of colors goes against my rather symmetrical way of thinking.  But I really ended up loving it!

I edged it in a couple of rows of single stitch crochet to help keep it square.

And….voile!  It was done!!

My sister was stunned that I had completed it.  She evidently thought that I had forgotten that I even took the squares, so her surprise was genuine!

Yay!!!!  I love it when a plan comes together!  🙂

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