Friday, November 30, 2007

Of Self-Portraits... and Baking!

So, our last assignment for photo 101 is a self-portrait. Can I just say... not my favorite subject matter. I am seriously sick of my face after a week of taking way too many photos of myself! I ordered a remote for my digital but it won't be here until next week sometime... too late to be of help for this task. I'm not a big fan of the self-timer, but it got the job done in instances where there was no other way (my arms are only so long). =) Getting tired of my mug, I started looking around for shiny objects in which to reflect myself... ah, the ice cream scoop! But there had to be a reason for it...

Enter the Fruity Carrot-Bran Muffins! YUM! (the pic below will take you to the recipe) Mission accomplished. And a quite tasty result as well. =)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Now for the Food!

So, I cooked a bit for Thanksgiving. =) I made the sweet potato biscuits I posted last week and also tried a few other new recipes this year. I started out the night before, making a batch of cornbread (click on the pics for the recipes):

Which I made into yummy stuffing the next morning:

I also made a loaf of Pane Alla Cioccolata (chocolate bread) in my bread machine:

Of course, I also made an apple pie like I do every year. Somehow, I missed taking a pic of this year's pie before it got cut into... so this is last year's just before heading into the oven:

Baking success all around. The leftovers are all gone now and the fridge looks decidedly non-festive. Ah, only a month to go before Christmas! =)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunset Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits

Found a new recipe I thought I'd like to make for Thanksgiving so I wanted to try it out in advance. =)

First off, I used red yams (@ half a large one) in place of sweet potato since it's what I had on hand. I also left out the oil with no issues and cut back on the salt a bit (maybe half). I also left out the added water in the end and upped the flour a bit (I used whole wheat pastry) to form a firmer dough and rolled/cut instead of making drop biscuits. YUM! =D

I may use half whole wheat pastry and half unbleached white flour for a little more loft next time.

Sunset Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes (2 small baked sweet potatoes)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.
Combine sweet potatoes, oil, syrup, vinegar and salt in large bowl. Sift in flour, baking powder and nutmeg.

Cut dry ingredients into sweet potato mixture with fork until mixture comes together. Stir in 2 to 3 Tbsp water, or enough to get the dough to hold together.
Drop golf ball-size rounds of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and firm to the touch. Serve warm.
Following the recipe, you should get 12 drop biscuits. I rolled mine and got 9 so I'll definitely be upping the recipe for Thursday. =)

*recipe from October 2007 Vegetarian Times magazine

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Howloween!

Reilly was kind enough to model his Halloween costume in exchange for a few (er, handfull) of Cheerios. =)

I've been doing LOTS of photography the past couple weeks and having loads of fun! I just love autumn! Spokane has some really great parks! Here are a few of my favorites. Check out my flickr account to see more. =)

And I've started another sweater for Reilly using the cable pattern from the Besotted Scarf and my doggie sweater pattern. I'm loving how it's coming out so far! Just in time too. The frost finally hit a week ago. =( Snow will be coming all too soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What can be done with a bit of frozen water

I'm printing a short series off some old negs for my portfolio and to practice printmaking. The prints are actually a bit less contrasty than these scans, but cheap scanner + cheap photo editing software = so-so scans. Must get PhotoShop... and a better scanner/printer. According to the work study at the lab, I make great prints - and she's jealous. =) I love playing in the darkroom. I can, and do, spend hours at a time in there. It's interesting to me that so many of the students detest printing. They're a lot of the same students who complain about having to shoot film. I think it all stems from being raised on instant results from digital cameras. Sad, so much can be done on film and in a darkroom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First Assignment

Our first assignment was to fool our camera meter and be able to correct it - white on white, black on black, backlit. This was my first print. I'm pretty happy with it. The assignment is due Thursday... we were told tonight it's pushed back to next Tuesday. *sigh* I'll be amazed if we actually get through all the assignments this quarter. I hate when teachers cater to the slackers. =(

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just Playin' 'Round

Lensbaby 2.0 - what a wonder. =) Yeah, yeah, the uses are somewhat limited, but it's just so much fun to play with! And oh my, how I love my new camera! It seriously makes me want to go back in time and retake all the photos I've taken in the past few years. *sigh* Geez, when will the brainiacs figure out time travel?! And why the heck did it take me so long to get a decent digital?!?

Not sure when I'll be able to make it back to DC again, but I am thinking seriously of heading up to Alaska for the ice carving competition in the Spring (well, it'll be Spring here). I've been printing ice sculpture photos I shot years ago and it's making me want to go back. Should be able to do some aurora shots as well so it'd be worth spending the first week of March in frigid Fairbanks, I think. I mentioned it to an old friend who also lived up there years back and may end up with some company. Could be fun... or frustrating. I don't know. I might wait for summer and hit Denali and Valdez and perhaps Kenai. Or I could put my nose to the grindstone and sock away enough cash to go twice... haha Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weekend continued...

This was my photo haul from the weekend. =) Plus the tripod and a few other things that came with it. Had to spend time this weekend shooting my film assignment so not as much time to play with all this as I'd like, but I'll get there. Details can be seen here if you're curious. =)

Oh, I have to share an amusing story from my shopping trip Saturday too. People are funny... and sometimes apparently think they're shopping in the comfort of their own homes. haha

So, I went to this store that was having a great sale on sweaters. I picked up several sweaters and headed into a dressing room. Sale started today so it was busy. At this store, there are maybe half a dozen dressing rooms and one of those was out of order (I don't even want to know why) so I pick the one with the door hanging open and no one inside or hovering in the common area outside. As usual there's discarded clothing on the bench and things on the hooks since a lot of people don't take unwanted items back out of the rooms - pretty standard issue for any dressing room that has no one keeping track of the # of items going in/out. A few minutes later an irate woman is banging on my door wanting in to get her stuff. Remember, no one was anywhere near this room when I went in. I'm thinking she left something hanging in there that she wanted to buy. Turns out she left her clothes (the ones she wore in apparently) on the bench in this dressing room and asked didn't I see her clothes?! Sure, there's a pile there but that's normal for a dressing room - I'll add, there was also another pile that was not hers on that bench. What about her shoes?!? No, they were shoved completely under the bench against the wall and since I didn't squat down to look under the bench for some crazy woman's abandoned shoes, I didn't see her stupid shoes... haha She had apparently walked out to hang things she didn't want back up on the sales floor and left her clothes/shoes in a completely unoccupied dressing room. WHO DOES THAT?! And how was I supposed to know she was still using the room when it looked just like every other dressing room I've ever been in? Some people. At least she didn't leave her purse in there under her pile of clothes. She was using a few brain cells at least. hahaha Wait, the funniest part was after she left, a woman in the room next to mine wanted to go pick up another size of something she'd tried on and told her friend to stay there and not let anyone steal her room! I seriously almost lost it... as if I'd purposely picked a room full of someone's personal belongings. hahaha Some people.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Catching Up

It's been an interesting couple weeks. I've dealt with one sick cat (on a Sunday when only the pricey vets are open) and twice-daily doses of antibiotics. You know the cat's feeling better when he runs at the sight of that pink bottle. =)

We've gone through developing our film and printing contact sheets and finally printed full size prints in class. Had out first quiz - which the teacher threw out because so many people bombed it. Seriously, this is basic photography, it's not brain surgery. *sigh* I wish they'd kick it up a notch so we could learn more than the very basics in this class.

And, at long last, I am now the proud (and very happy) owner of a DSLR. I bought a Canon 20D - along with 5 lenses, tons of filters, a 5-way reflective disk, some misc accessories and even a really good tripod and head - off a guy selling his possessions to support his family while starting a new business. It's not the newest model, but I got all that for less than it would have cost for a new one with two lenses and nothing else. I can always upgrade the body later. I'm happy. =) Now I just have to learn to use it properly...

A friend is visiting from Alaska this week. OK, technically she's visiting her parents, but I'll get to see her too, so there. =) And I may be getting a visit from an old friend from the east coast too. It's good to be somewhere people like to visit for a change. I don't have to always go see them now!

So nothing too exciting. I haven't been knitting at all. I've barely been cooking. I'm slipping on my domestic duties. =)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Freedom for Kitties!

My cats have always been indoor only since I never had a safe place for them to enjoy the outdoors. Last year, we finally moved into a place with a yard so I put in a fence for the dogs and the cats have been great about staying in the yard too! I've been letting the furballs out all summer as long as I was home and it was nice weather. The temps cooled off a few weeks ago and the doors closed to keep the heat in - the kitties were not happy. This was my inexpensive solution. Less than $25 total for the door (eBay), wood (cheap scraps lumber from Lowe's) and carpet for the plank to the ground outside (remnants). The cats are thrilled (even going out in the rain!), I'm happy, and the dogs can't get out when I'm not home to let them in and out - much to the relief of the meter reader I'm sure. =) Purrrfect. =^..^= And a much less expensive option than the premade window mount cat doors ($130)!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Room to Grow Puppy Sweater - Pattern!

Reilly’s First Puppy Sweater - Pattern

This was my first attempt at making a sweater of any kind and was made up on the fly - no pattern, no solid plan. I wanted a sweater knit in the round (I hate seaming) and with a stitch pattern that had lots of give since Reilly was only 3 months old at the time and had a lot of growing left to do. Nearly all the patterns I had seen were knit flat and pieced/seamed together. I figured I was basically knitting a tube with some increases and leg holes, how hard could it be? The only thing I’d figured out before casting on was that I wanted a 2x2 rib for lots of stretch/room for growth and I had figured out the # of stitches to cast on (from knitting a swatch). I had a plan! Sort of. =) The rest I made up as I went along…

The following will make it MUCH easier for you to figure out the sizing for your own dog - no matter what their size - and take the guesswork out of it.


Yarn: This is up to you. A worsted weight works well, but since you’ll be determining the # stitches/rows, this will be easily adapted to whatever you choose. A softer (stay away from the rough stuff!) wool or a wool blend will be the warmest for your dog. Reilly’s sweater was knit with superwash wool on size 7 DPNs.
Needles: set of DPNs appropriate for chosen yarn/circulars may be used for larger sizes
Stitch Markers

First, knit a swatch in 2x2 ribbing to determine your gauge.
Do not stretch out your swatch before measuring if this is being knit for a growing puppy or it won’t fit for long. I pretty much didn’t stretch mine out at all and it fit Reilly until he was about 1.5 times his original weight/size. Ribbing gives LOTS of stretch. =)
Stitches per inch: ____
Rows per inch: ____

Now, take the following measurements on the dog you’re knitting for and convert to number of stitches/rows per your gauge in you swatch:

A) Neck circumference: ____” = ____ stitches (round up if needed to get multiple of 4)
B) Chest circumference: ____” = ____ stitches (round up if needed to get multiple of 4)
C) Distance from throat of sweater to front of leg less 1” : ____” = ____ rows
(Throat would be wherever you want it to hit - mid neck works well unless it’s a puppy, then I’d measure to just under the jaw and make it a turtle neck until he/she grows into it. You are subtracting 1” for the initial ribbing prior to working increases.)

D) Subtract A from B to determine number of stitches you will need to increase over number of rows C. (B-A = ____ stitches)

E) Distance between legs: ____” = ____ stitches

F) Distance across front of each front leg: ____” = ____ stitches
(You’ll be binding off this # of stitches for each leg hole - I would add a few stitches here as you don’t want the leg holes to be too tight. Maybe add half an inch to an inch or so on a large dog.)

G) Distance front to back of each front leg: ____” = ____ rows
(From the front of the leg to the back of the leg. This section will be knit flat/back and forth before rejoining in the round just behind the front legs. You’ll want to leave a bit of extra room here as well for the comfort of your dog.)

H) Distance from behind front leg to point where the sweater needs to end on your dog’s chest/belly. ____” = ____ rows
(For females, you can measure to just in front of the hind legs. For males, you’ll have to leave more room to take care of business.) =)

I) Distance from the point you ended the belly of the sweater to the base of the tail: ____” = ____ rows (This portion will be knit flat/back and forth as well.)

Now you’re ready to get started!
Cast on A number of stitches in whatever stretchy cast-on you prefer (do a search online or in a stitchionary if needed for an appropriately stretchy method - choose one recommended for ribbing). Join in round, being sure not to twist. Work in 2x2 rib for 1”. Begin working in D increases in chosen method (see next paragraph) and continue in pattern for C inches/rows, ending at center of chest.

* Increases may be made in a couple of ways. You could add stitches at the front/throat only by creating new ribs in a V pattern (I did this on Reilly’s first one) working the rest of the round in the 2x2 pattern or you can increase within the ribbing (easier, I think, and results in fewer increase rounds since you can increase more than a few stitches per round). Increase your ribbing from 2x2 to 2x3 or 3x3 (or more depending on how many stitches you need to increase). Decide how you would like to work your increases and determine how many increase rows you will need. If increasing rib from 2x2 to something larger, increase to 2x3 in one row and then 3x3 in a later row and then 3x4 and so on - evenly space these increase rows over distance C. Depending on your chosen method, you may be working increases every couple rows or every 10 rows or more. It’s up to you to decide this. When your work measures C + 1”, you should have B stitches on your needles.

Now it’s time to bind off for the leg holes.
Continue in pattern for half of E stitches (E/2). Loosely bind off F stitches (use larger needle if needed - you want this to stay loose/stretchy). Now add E + F and count back this number of stitches to determine placement of outside of other leg hole. Place a split ring stitch marker or piece of contrasting yarn here. (Counting back now will eliminate having to check number of stitches as you work your way around.) Continue in rib pattern until you reach your stitch marker. Loosely bind off F stitches for 2nd leg hole. You should now have E stitches remaining between these bound off sections. This is the section between the front legs.

Work flat (back and forth) in rib pattern until this smaller strip equals G plus a few rows (not necessary to add these, but I found it gives a bit more ease in the chest/more comfort for the dog) ending on a right side row. Leave stitches on DPN or place on stitch holder. Cut yarn, leaving a 6-8” tail to be woven in later.

Now, you’ll be working the back section flat as well. Rejoin yarn to back section and work in rib pattern until this larger section equals G, ending on a right side row. Place stitch marker.
Cast-on F stitches to form back of leg hole (use whatever method you prefer, but looser/stretchier is best for comfort). Rejoin to smaller chest section and work in pattern until you reach the 2nd leg hole. Cast-on F stitches to form back of other leg hole. Place stitch marker. Rejoin to back of sweater so you can continue working in the round.

Now, continue in rib pattern until the section behind leg holes equals H, passing your stitch markers along with each row. Just a reminder, boys need a little more clearance than girls. =)

Once this section equals H, continue in rib pattern across the back of the sweater until you reach the stitch marker on the far side. Bind off (loosely once again) until you reach the 2nd stitch marker. Continue working in rib pattern (back and forth) until the section beyond the bound off stomach equals I. You can also check this length by measuring your dog from shoulder to base of tail and comparing that to the distance from the front of the leg holes to the tail end of the sweater. Should be the same either way. =)

Bind off. Weave in ends. Now try it on your pup and take him/her for a toasty walk! =)

If you want, you can go back and pick up stitches around the front leg holes and add sleeves.
This pattern could easily be adapted to another stitch pattern. Just knit your swatch in whatever stitch pattern you choose and figure your gauge on that. =) Reilly’s 2nd sweater is a cable pattern - he outgrew the first last Spring. I used basically the same method as above, leaving the stitches at the front of the leg live and casting on live stitches as the back of the leg. You do have to take into account the pattern's repeat stitch count and alter your increases into that. It's slightly more complicated than the basic rib pattern, but still not too bad. =)

I hope I haven't made this harder than it should be. I've never written up a pattern before and this one has so many variables. If anyone has any suggestions for making this pattern better, please let me know. =)

PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS: Sorry, I don't have this available as a pdf at the moment and if you print directly from this page, you will be wasting ink on the background color. You could highlight the text and copy it to your own word processing program to print however. I do know how to make a pdf file, I just don't know where to put it online so I can link to it from here for printing. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Current WIPs

As I was photographing my stash for Ravelry (whew), I had to face up to my WIPs...

This is my oldest WIP - It's a cushion meant for the bottom of my kitty kennel (color coordinated even) and has been on the needles for a veeeeeerrrrrrry long time (years) - halfway done. I occasionally pull it out and knit a few rows before sticking it back in the bag. haha I love the cushy texture and that there's no need to carry the alternate yarn across. Pattern is from the Snuggles Project (Hugs for Homeless Animals). Someday I'll finish it. =)

Something more recent - A Gryffindor Bookscarf (Charmed Knits)! This is meant for my mom who is a HUGE Harry potter fan. I'd hoped to finish it before she finished the latest book. She's reading slowly. It may still happen. Stockinette in the round just isn't holding my attention. =(

Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting. So cute and quick to knit up. All that's left is the seeming. Um, it's been a couple weeks since I cast off... Not a big seem fan. That's why I love knitting in the round - other than stockinette apparently. =)

Latest cast on - A fabric stitch bath mitt. This is nice and smooth on one side and bumpier on the other. Perfect for face/body. I'm knitting this wide enough to fold over and seem for a mitt instead of a washcloth. So far, so good. =) The pattern is simple and the colors pretty. However, classes start Wednesday... Might put a tiny crimp in the knitting plans. =)


Ahhh, so worth the wait! Got my invite this morning and spent way too much time wandering around and uploading my stash. But SO much fun! If you haven't signed up for the waitlist - DO IT NOW! =) You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Better Naan

Sometimes, you have to chuck the recipes and go out on your own. =) This is my most recent attempt at homemade naan, sans tandoor oven of course. I used my George Foreman grill and it came out nice and chewy. So far this is my favorite.


1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt1 tsp sugar
about 4 cups flour (enough to get a good, soft dough)
3 Tbsp soy or rice milk, plain
1 cup vegan yogurt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 Tbsp melted margarine
2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 1/4 cup water, beaten

Combine dry ingredients (less @ 1/2 cup flour) in large bowl, set aside.

Combine soy/rice milk, yogurt and butter. Heat in microwave until warm (@ 45-60 sec). Add yeast and Egg Replacer, mix.

Add to dry ingredients. Mix. Add additional flour if needed to form soft dough. Knead 15 minutes until dough is elastic. If dough is sticky, add more flour.

Place in greased bowl and cover with damp tea towel or lid, allow to double in size (depending on temp, could be 1-3 hrs).

Preheat George Foreman grill.

Divide dough into 8 sections and roll into balls. Flatten either by hand (for a more rustic look) or with a rolling pin. Cook on grill until lightly browned.

Can be brushed lightly with melted margarine, but these are great plain!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Some mornings, I should just stay in bed.

*sigh* My puppy - the goat. No one can say this guy suffers from a lack of appetite. I had the misfortune of trying out a tip from my vet this morning. The adorable puppy above got into a bag of kitty litter scoopings and had a snack. Eeeewwwwweeeee. Gross in itself, yes. Dangerous? Possibly. Clumping kitty litter + very small dog = possible major intestinal issues, issues I'd rather not involve my vet and large amounts of cash in. So, off to the store I ran... About a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and maybe 20 minutes of hanging out in the yard watching a not-quite-so-cheery-anymore puppy later, there was no longer an issue. Well, not an internal one anyway. Disgusting, but good to know if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament and need a quick alternative to a pricey vet call. As for the pup? He's now sleeping off his stressful morning and is sure to wake up with an even bigger appetite.

PSA over. Return to normal broadcasting.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Beauty All Around

After a horrible storm last night - complete with booming thunder, pouring rain, pea-sized hail and ridiculous winds, I was overjoyed to wake up this morning to a wonderfully beautiful, sunny day! The birds were singing, the morning glories were blooming and the kitties got some outside time -> multiple critters + small trailer = great need for outside time.

I'm heading back to school this fall. I've always gone the safe route and studied practical things in order to be responsible and earn a good living. I'm tired of being the good girl and always doing what I should. I'm tired of hating what I do every day or being bored out of my mind. This time, I'm following my heart. I've enrolled in a photography course that starts in a few weeks. I'm excited to get started!

If you have a dream, don't let anyone talk you out of trying it. What's the worst that can happen? Give it a go and take a risk!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Knitting Needle Caddies

The knitting needle collection was becoming a little unruly so... out came the sewing machine to bring some order to my life, er knitting implements. =)

One for the many smaller DPNs...

And one for the straight needles and longer DPNs and the crochet hooks finally got a home.

I even whipped up a little bug bag for all the tiny pieces that might get lost otherwise.

I feel so organized! I'm sure that feeling will pass. =)

"Suede" Baby Booties

And from a few days ago... "suede" baby booties! These came out SO cute!

Pattern: "Suede" Booties from DIY's Knitty Gritty
Yarn: Berroco suede in pink and Caron bliss in white

A great, quick project for the next baby on the way!

Manly Cabled Dog Sweater

Thought I'd share a couple of recent FOs.

I decided my boy needed a new sweater before winter hits since he's doubled in size since I knit his first back in February - no way he's squeezing into that one again! Now that he's full grown - all 11 1/2 lbs of him - I wanted to make him something nice, but manly. He is a boy afterall. No frilly, foofy sweater for this guy! Enter... the cabled fisherman-style sweater.

Pattern: Made up as I knit along and sized to fit him (I plan to write this up sooner rather than later.)
Yarn: Lion Brand 100% wool in ecru and sage
Modeled by: Reilly, my 10 month old MinPin/Chi mix

I almost can't wait for it to get cold! =)

An Intro

Yes, I may seem all domesticated from a distance. I do a lot of things that would make me a appear to be so, but I refuse to give in completely! I have aspirations of traveling the world and never settling down.

However, I do knit... and sew. (Evidence of my crafty progress can be seen here.)

And cook and bake. (more evidence of domesticity)

I've been vegetarian since the age of 12 (roughly) and am bordering on vegan these days.

I also tried my hand at container gardening a bit for the first time this year.

I love to read a variety of books from reference-type stuff (photography, knitting, gardening, etc) to fiction (humor and fluff mostly) to nonfiction (travel, biographies). One of my favorite things to do is just browse in the library to see what catches my eye.

Another of my passions is photography. I love it. I'm rarely without a camera in hand (or at the least, in purse/pocket). I love capturing a tiny piece of the wonderful world around me and being able to share that with others.

I hope to share just a little of my world and maybe even inspire someone to try out a new project (crafty or culinary) in the process.

Welcome to my world.