Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pumpkin Oatmeal Harvest Cookies and a Sweater

pumpkin cookies with oatmeal harvest dark chocolate craisins coconut walnuts

I am a die-hard fall fanatic. I love living in a state where we fully experience all the seasons, and with the humidity and heat here in WV the summer I'm always ready for a little break come September. I've recently become aware that not everyone loves fall, which I can't fully grasp. Honestly, I'm really having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I get that winter isn't everyone's favorite season, and fall means winter's on the way, but come on! Pumpkin! Leaves! Cider! Pumpkin! Apples! Football! Pumpkin! 

I made some really super cookies this weekend and had to share the recipe. I used a basic pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe, made a few changes, and added a few goodies. It was one of those rare, perfect accidents and I'm really happy with how they turned out. We went canoeing Friday afternoon and devoured the entire container. That was probably because the 4-5 mile trip turned out to be more like 10 miles and we were starving.

pumpkin cookies with oatmeal harvest dark chocolate craisins coconut walnuts

Pumpkin Oatmeal Harvest Cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350*
Using a mixer, combine butter, sugars and pumpkin. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined well. 
In a separate bowl, either sift or whisk together flour and additional dry ingredients (but not add-ins). 
Add dry ingredients to wet, then gently fold in the add-ins. 
Place rounded scoops of dough (1-2 tablespoons) on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes.

Fall also means serious knitting time. I decided I wanted to knit a sweater for myself this year (for the first time) and chose Jane Richmond's Oatmeal Pullover. It's a good beginner pattern, I think, and it's going so quickly in this Rowanspun Chunky that it's practically knitting itself. Now all the kids have decided they need sweaters too. Wouldn't the Weasley sweaters be cute for the boys?! 

Inspired by my friend, hair stylist, and photographer, Erica, I took some back-lit photos the other day. This was my first try and it was so satisfying. This is my kitchen window - my favorite spot in my favorite room. The morning light is glorious. I used washi tape to attach a little leaf watercolor made by one of the kids to an olive wood cutting board. I also have my favorite Bath & Body Works Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candle but it's different this year - I can hardly smell it! Boo. 

I hope you're enjoying the harvest season wherever you are.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe: A Review

Several weeks ago Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. She and 17 other bloggers each contributed a pattern to this amazing collection, so of course I said yes! I'd seen lots of hype about the book so I was interested in taking a look for myself. 

Lanterns in the City by Audrie

I have to say I went into this with no expectations or notions about how this book would be compiled - I've been so busy these last few weeks that I was just glad to have something fun to point my attention to for a while. One thing that I particularly enjoyed were the biographies of each blogger. Most are several paragraphs long and I really, really enjoyed reading all of them. Even though I read several of their blogs regularly, I learned more about their backgrounds and  how/why/when they started quilting. 

Across the Quad by Jennifer 

There is a variety of skill levels in the book, from simple patchwork squares to dresdens, and a fantastic updated Courthouse Steps in Audrie's Lanterns in the City. I appreciate that they left out the basic quilting technique section in the front. Every time I buy a quilting book I think of the valuable space that's taken up with that information. I get that it belongs in a beginner quilting book, but my guess is that most people buying books like this are already quilters looking for inspiration or patterns, not a detailed how-to. I was a little surprised at the 19 patterns included - that's a great value for less than $20! 

Indian Summer by Katy

The photography is one of the high points of the book for me - the quilts are all photographed full-on and the paper is fantastic. You can really get a sense of the scale of the quilt and pattern since it's not draped or folded. Several of the designers also share the back of the quilts and how to duplicate them, which would be really helpful to a beginner quilter or someone who just wants everything spelled out. A couple of the quilts have improvisational piecing, and they are so well explained. I've taught a couple of classes in which people were so intimidated and stressed out by improv, so I was really glad to see step-by-step instructions to make it a little less scary. 

Mini Claw Throw by Jeni

I couldn't help myself and had to pull some fabric to make a block from Jeni's Mini Claw Throw. I'm going to make it into a hot pad with some coordinating coasters for a gift! I also really want to make one of Katy's Indian Summer blocks as a mini-quilt -which is a perfect example of how I use quilting books. I rarely make the patterns exactly as they are written, but use them as a jumping-off point and a source of inspiration. 

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of your own, head to Ellison Lane Quilts and enter the giveaway - it ends Sunday, March 17! Thanks, Jennifer, for letting me be a part of your exciting

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Before winter's over

It never fails that as soon as the leaves begin to turn I have the urge to knit. Last September I picked up my needles and became obsessed. I thought I'd share with you all of my fall & winter knitting adventures before spring arrives.

This is a Saroyan shawl, knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk. I love the hand that the silk gives the fabric but I do think this will be the last time I knit with it - I prefer my knits with more body and less drape. This was knitted for my grandmother for Christmas. See details here on Ravelry. 

This beautiful Madelinetosh Merino DK became a Texelle Chunky Shawl for my mom's Christmas gift. This pattern (from Phydeaux Designs) was a blast to knit. It's perfect for ADD crafters since you change stitch patterns every few rows. Super fun.

As cute as those little bobbles are, by the time I had knit about 50 of them I swore I'd never knit one again - they take forever! But now I have amnesia and I'm sure I'll make this shawl again. 

This colorway (William Morris) is so tough to photograph! It goes from a mauvey-tobacco to a deep foresty teal and really changes in different light. Ravelry details here.

I volunteered to do a test knit for the first time, and what a great way to keep on track with a project! This is The Other Million striped cowl, knit in a few different heathery alpacas.

This was a great travel knit - very mindless stripes knit in the round. Choosing the stripe layout was fun and I'm sure I'll knit another next winter in different colors. Ravelry details here.

This Fisher Cabled Hat was a quick knit for my husband and made with leftover Tosh Vintage from my Terra Shawl. Ravelry details here. It has been VERY well loved this winter!

I can hardly look at this sock without wanting to stick my tongue out. The stitch pattern is fine, but I have turned this stupid heel 4 times and have switched from magic loop to DPNs twice. I finally got it, but ugh. I'm finishing these out of pure stubbornness. The only good thing about this project is the yarn, which was purchased at Blazing Needles during Sewing Summit last year.  Ravelry details here.

My Terra Shawl. Also known as my favorite knit of all time. Actually, it's probably up there with my favorite thing I've ever made, period. So many good things about this one. Yarn purchased during Sewing Summit, fantastic pattern, knit as we did a lot of traveling this's just full of good memories. I wore it for our family pictures and had my friend/hair stylist/photographer/all around awesome Erica from Johnson Photography take a few shots so I could share them with you.

The colors in this yarn are incredible - from a denim blue to deep navy with a touch of warm brown thrown in, it matches everything! Best yarn choice ever. Ravelry details (and more photos) here.

Okay, last one, I promise! It turns out I was quite productive - as evidenced by all these projects AND the tendinitis in my left shoulder. :/

This is the Happa Hat, and I only have a phone pic of it - need to remedy that ASAP since it's such a great hat and the yarn color is perfect. This was taken right after finishing it and it has relaxed and is nice and slouchy now. I love it! Ravelry details here.

I'll be back Friday to share a review of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. Head over to Ellison Lane to enter her giveaway! It is such a great book - I already have two quilts planned from it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sewing Summit 12 Recap, Part 1

So. Sewing Summit. It was okay. Don't really have much to say about it. 

Did I trick you? It was SO incredibly awesome, amazing, fun and inspiring. I could go on for an annoyingly long time, but you get the point. 

I didn't think I'd get to go this year since we had our house on the market and were accepting offers when the tickets went on sale. But in August a lightbulb went off and I though maybe I'd be able to find a ticket from someone who couldn't use theirs. I did! And everything quickly fell into place...dear, sweet Amber offered up her room (she was already rooming with Megan), and I convinced Angela that she had to make it work, too. It was serendipitous. 

Sewing Summit Prep 

1. I took Christina's curved piecing class and chose some of my prized Flea Market Fancy for the Ornate mini-quilt we made.
2. I decided I needed a drawstring bag made from Jeni's tutorial and have since made 473289 more. That pattern is incredible.
3. Packing for SS! I'm more of a "Throw everything I'm currently into wearing and hope some outfits happen!" kind of packer.
4. Me at the Chicago airport (this is from Instagram) hoping that people will recognize me once I arrive in SLC. (Do you realize how hard it is to photograph yourself in a busy restroom without looking like a self-absorbed idiot?! I applaud those of you who get away with the public self-portraits. Pretty sure that will be my last.)

Blazing Needles 

5. We visited Blazing Needles, a yarn shop in SLC, twice over the weekend. You know when you walk in a shop and it just feels good? That's what this place is like...great atmosphere, incredible products, and the owner is so welcoming and helpful. I especially loved that they provide coffee and tea that you can drink out of pottery mugs made by the owner's son. :) 
6. Angela trying to choose some Malabrigo sock yarn!
7. Angela, Megan & I with the owner, Cynthia.
8. Lovely ladies! 

Shop Hop

Sewing Summit started Thursday evening, but I flew out Wednesday evening so I could participate in the Quilt Shop Hop early Thursday morning. I roomed with Ellie for the night and we hung out during the Shop Hop. We had SO much fun together and it was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. 

9. We stopped in Gardner Village to shop at Pine Needles. I didn't get any pictures because of the mass chaos that was happening in there - we were in quite a frenzy in that awesome little shop. I bought some of Aneela's Cherry Christmas precuts and yardage there, along with some other fat quarters. Oh, and a HUGE can of my favorite 505 Basting Spray
10. This is the shopping center where Material Girls is located - it was a gorgeous, warm day and the mountains looked beautiful. I'm used to the green, rolling hills of WV so these were quite a change of scenery. (The owner of Material Girls, Nadine, was one of the hosts of the Shop Hop and was incredibly sweet!)
11. Ellie and I finished at Material Girls (where I bought some beautiful ribbon and some Amy Butler Cameo FQs) and headed to One Sweet Slice right around the corner.
12. My Samoa brownie which was so, so good and one of the richest things I've ever eaten!

And a couple of me and my beautiful roomies...somehow Amber didn't make it into one of these. :( 

 I realize that was sort of windy, but I wanted to record everything so I can remember all the details! Part 2 will happen sometime...the only thing I'll guarantee is that I'll post it before Sewing Summit 2013. ;)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching Up

I finally feel like I have a minute to breathe. Just a minute, though, because there are some really exciting things on the horizon! I did take a few pictures of my Festivall Art Fair preparations to share with you, but forgot to take pictures of my full table. That's not surprising.

I made a few little log cabin patchwork pumpkins with no real idea of what they would end up being. I finally framed 2 of them in 8x10 white shadowbox frames. It's been so rainy and dreary around here I couldn't get great pictures, but you get the idea. My BFF ended up buying them on the first day of the fair so I'll get to see them often. ;) 

I saw this pattern on Etsy a long, long time ago, and kept meaning to make them. I finally got around to it and love how they turned out! I did buy the pattern since I used the general idea, but I didn't follow it at all. I have issues following patterns - that seems to be a common theme on most blogs I read, haha! 

I teach at our homeschool group on Friday mornings and it overlapped with the beginning of the fair, so this awesome man I married  finished setting up for me, priced things, and worked until I could get there. Love him. My mom also visited from VA and was so helpful - she took the kids to buy Halloween costumes since their slacker mom hadn't yet. ;) 

I've posted before about my experiences with Festivall, which I absolutely love. This was the first Festivall Fall Art Fair, and it was quite slow. No advertising budget + horrible weather is a bad combination for an outdoor fair. There were very few shoppers Friday and a little more Saturday, but it was still a good time, mostly thanks to my amazing neighbors. Two lovely ladies from The Hermitage Monastery were so kind and fun to talk to - we chatted about knitting and had an amazing swap! Their soaps and lip balms are made using milk from the monk's goats and wax from their bees. Incredible. 

I made several new items this time - some of Jeni's drawstring bags (buy the pattern here - it's so great), some clutches, and a few camera straps. It was really nice for a change of pace - I get SO tired of sewing wristlets, even though they are my best sellers. 

I bought some Anna Maria Horner Loulouthi Flannel last year with plans to make a quick throw backed with voile. My idea was to do a large hand-tied patchwork throw with wool batting. I don't know about you, but I have a seriously hard time sticking with my original plans. I chatted on Instagram with Erin from Pellon (who is super sweet!) and she offered to send me some batting. That puffy cloud under the flannel is a wonderful wool batting that I'm so excited to try. It is much lighter than I expected, and I'm anxious to see how it quilts. (Since - of course - my hand-tied throw has turned into a hand-quilted-with-perle-cotton quilt. I roll my eyes at myself often.) 

I took a curved piecing class from Christina at Sewing Summit and that gave me the confidence to try curves on a bigger scale. I sketched this pattern and then drew it on freezer paper - and I even remembered to add seam allowances! I had to order a few additional yards of flannel, but I went ahead and started with what I have. It is so much easier to sew curves on a larger scale. I was a little concerned about using the flannel since it's so puffy and distorts easily, but it really was a breeze. 

I have to share this picture with you - it is so ridiculous. My husband and a group of his friends ran a Tough Mudder race last weekend. It was insane, and freezing, and included swimming through dumpsters of ice. So they've already signed up for another. Obviously. 

I'll be back this week with my Sewing Summit recap - or part 1 of it, anyway! See you then! 

** Could I ask you to please pray for my MIL? She's in the hospital with an issue that the doctors can't quite figure out. Thank you! **