Monday, February 28, 2011

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade...

when the sky sends you freezing rain, make ice cream sandwiches. (Knitting seems obvious here, but you can do that after you eat.)

Ok, that's a bit of a stretch. But curl up on the couch with an afghan and some warm socks and one of these ice cream sandwiches, and I promise they'll make you happy.

Before Christmas, I went a little nuts baking cookies. I have my standard favorites that I like to make every year, and this year my husband requested pizzelles. I've only made them once before and in my mind, I was thinking they were difficult and a lot of work. But as I got going, I realized they're very easy and totally worth it.

We're lucky to have my husband's grandmother's pizzelle maker from the 1960's.

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I used Giada DeLaurentis' Pizzelle recipe. It's a super easy recipe that I can hand mix in one bowl. She suggests making ice cream sandwiches with them by slicing up a pint of ice cream and placing a slice of ice cream between 2 cookies.

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For every year of my childhood that I can remember, my family had a Friendly's Jubilee Roll at dessert for Christmas. We always had homemade stuff too, but that's the dessert I remember. In the past couple of years, I've been buying them myself because it reminds me of those really wonderful times and my family laughs when I bring it out. But everyone has a piece too.

So this year, I cut up the Friendly's Jubilee roll, and placed it between 2 pizelles. It was heaven!

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Now I realize we're well past Christmas, but I made these again this weekend and they were as good as I remembered them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

this moment (or something like it)

On Fridays, soulemama blogs {this moment}: in her words "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

I've been seeing these posts on her blogs, and others inspired by hers for a while now, and I'm finally joining in.

And I love Waldorfmama's spin on it: adding the things she's grateful for.

So here's mine:

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I know I'm not supposed to add any words, but what I'll remember from this day is not just the peacefulness of walking by the ocean on a warm winter day. It'll also be that my 4 year old fell into a tidal pool and had a complete meltdown because she couldn't figure out whether she wanted to stay on the beach in her soaking wet clothes or go home. And that as I packed us all into the car, I could hear the words to Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" in my head. Because we seem to leave a fair number of places going down in one.

Here's what I'm thankful for:
An unusually warm day in February that gave us a reprieve from winter and hope for spring
Living close enough to the beach that we can go whenever we please
Having observant children who found this heart shaped rock wedged into one of the bigger rocks
A daughter who has so much energy and passion inside of her that sometimes she doesn't know what to do with herself

If you'd like, share a link to your moment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yarn Along (#6)

I'm still reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver this week. The book has convinced me to give up all industrially raised meat and dairy. And it's made me aware of where the produce I'm buying comes from. I really appreciate her desire to create a food culture for her family. Cooking was important in both of my parents' families, and my mom's parents grew their own vegetables. They had a huge raised bed that took up most of their backyard and their beans used to grow up the side of the house and onto the roof. I remember very vividly their basement cabinets filled with all of the pickles, beans, beets, and tomatoes they had canned themselves. My Dad still talks about how good my grandmother's pickles were.

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This week I'm also reading the knitters handy book of sweater patterns by Ann Budd. I'm starting to put together my idea for my daughter's sweater and the book is providing some useful sizing guidelines and ways of shaping the sweater.

The sweater I'm knitting for myself is just about done. I'm hoping one more week!

I listened to this interesting broadcast on the program On Point yesterday on NPR: "The Resurgence of Knitting." Good to listen to while knitting, of course.

And thanks to Ginny for hosting another Yarn Along on her blog this week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't know what it is about Valentine's Day, but I have a serious weakness for paper heart doilies. I bought a bunch this year for my daughters to use in making their Valentine's cards.

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We spent yesterday doing most of our Valentine's Day prep. Chocolate dipped strawberries for my daughter's preschool class, heart shaped watermelon cutouts for my other daughter's class party, heart shaped red velvet cakes with cream cheese frosting for our dessert tonight. Nothing too original, but my kids love it and that's all that matters.

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And this little treat showed up on my doorstep today. Not a present, but I've been waiting anxiously for it ever since last week. And it's stunning, just like I'd hoped it would be. I'm promising myself that I won't touch it until I've finished knitting the sweater I started a year ago. Only 4 inches or so left. I hope I can hold out!

and the winner is...

Twig and Toadstool!

Thank you for entering the blog giveaway. The Give Thanks Mitten pattern and a skein of Lamb's Pride worsted in the Cranberry Swirl colorway will soon be on their way to you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

can I sell finished objects made from a Pumpkin Pie Baby pattern?

The issues of copyright and licensing are often thorny and sometimes even contentious when it comes to knitting patterns. The issue of whether crafters can knit and sell items made from a pattern not of their own design is especially confusing. I've been giving this particular issue some thought recently, and this is what I've decided.

I'm happy to have crafters hand knit finished objects from my patterns to sell, make for charity, or trade. I only ask that you please provide credit to me in your listing by including the pattern name, that it was designed by Pumpkin Pie Baby, and a link to my blog. Thank you!

This pertains only to patterns that I sell directly through my Ravelry store or Hyena Cart store. This does not pertain to my patterns that are published by others.

(Let me add that I don't know for certain what is legally permitted regarding sale of finished items from a knitting pattern--some say it's legally permitted while others say no--but this is where I stand on my patterns only. I respect that some other designers offer licensing for their patterns and my decision is not a commentary on any of their business decisions. I think many knitters agree, however, that it is common courtesy to give credit where credit is due.)

The issue of copyright as it pertains to the actual written instructions is less confusing and there is more agreement about what it means. I ask that you not copy a pattern you have purchased from me for free (to give to others to use) or to sell to others. Copies for your own personal use are fine. I also ask that you not copy my written instructions and distribute them under your own name as your own design.

When I first started knitting and selling hand knits online, I benefited from designers who said it was OK to knit and sell items made from their patterns. Being able to knit and sell items for sale helped me grow as a knitter to the point that I was finally able to design and write patterns of my own. For me, I feel it's only fair that I pass that on.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yarn Along (#5)

I don't know if it's because I've been participating in Ginny's Yarn Alongs, or if I've just gotten lucky with my reading choices, but I've been reading a lot lately and enjoying what I'm reading.

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This week I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She and her family commit to a year of eating locally. This book has given me much to think about. Eating locally and organically is already part of my family's consciousness. We have switched over to organic when buying meat and, with some planning and effort, we could easily also be purchasing locally. We buy organic produce when we can. In the summer we frequent our farmer's market whenever possible. I absolutely agree with Kingsolver that local food tastes better. To me, there is nothing better than a ripe tomato in August. I can't stomach "fresh" tomatoes any other time of the year, but a tomato in August is something.

I'm only a quarter of the way into her book, but it's already got me thinking differently about how we could eliminate some things from our diets (blueberries in winter that have been flown in from South America) but replace them with frozen blueberries that we picked fresh in the summer. We've got an abundance of those here in July.

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And least I forget what I'm knitting...well, see that sad little bag nestled between my nightstand and dresser. That sweater has suffered from inattention for at least a month now. And aside from the one night of attention I gave it a month ago, it had been months before that.

I started this Rosamund Sweater last January--2010. (It's in the first picture above.) I'm still only half way done. I'm hoping I can focus just on this sweater this week. I'd love to be able to wear it this spring.

And my daughter wants a cardigan and I've got an idea for it, so I'm looking through Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns for some inspiration.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New pattern and blog giveaway!

I'm excited to be releasing my fourth design--the Give Thanks Mittens pattern--next week. The pattern includes instructions for four sizes: infant (which are thumbless), 1-2 years, 3-4 years, and 5-7 years. These mittens are knit in the round, by magic looping, and have a slip stitch pattern that creates a thick fabric to keep hands warm.

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I'm very thankful for the knitters who helped me test knit the pattern, and I'll post more about them later on.

The pattern will be available next Tuesday, February 15th on Ravelry and in my Hyena Cart store.

But here's the fun stuff. I'd love to give away a copy of my newest pattern (either a .pdf or printed copy, your choice) along with a skein of Lamb's Pride worsted in Cranberry Swirl (color represented in the middle picture above) to one of my blog readers. Each person who leaves a comment for this post will be entered to win once. To enter more than once, you can do any of the following things:

1) Follow or subscribe to my blog. Make sure to leave another comment letting me know you've done that.
2) "Like" Pumpkin Pie Baby on Facebook and leave me another comment here letting me know you did that.
3) Comment on another blog post of mine. Then comment on this blog post about your other post. Sounds redundant, I know, but it'll help me keep your entries straight!

Please make sure in your comment that you've included a way for me to contact you if you win.

You've got until Monday, February 14th at 12PM EST to enter. When I've received all the entries, I'll enter the comment numbers into a random number generator and that person will win.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yarn Along (#4)

I'm joining Ginny at small things for another Yarn Along. This is my fourth so far, and I'm enjoying the glimpse into other people's reading and knitting lives.

I'm working on another pair of Low Tide Convertible Mittens for my cousin. She asked for 2 pairs and sent along 2 kinds of yarn. This week's pair is knit with Mochi Plus, a heavy worsted weight 80% merino/20% nylon blend. It's super soft and has long color runs, so the mitts have these wide stripes of color that easily flow from one to the next. This picture isn't the best at showing those colors, but I'll post more pics once I'm finished.

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Last week I posted that I was reading The Trial by Kafka on my Nook. But later that day I was notified that the digital copy I had requested through my library of The Help by Kathryn Stockett was ready for me to download. Once the book becomes available, you only have 3 days to download it and then 14 days to read it. This book is easy to read and I've already read over 350 pages this week. I'm hoping I can finish it by tomorrow.

This morning I also pulled out our copy of FamilyFun Boredom Busters. We're on our third snow day in as many weeks and I was looking for activities to keep us busy today. The book provided instructions for making a catamaran for dolls out of two 1 liter bottles. The girls begged me to make it, and they then spent the better part of an hour sailing their dolls around the tub and giving each of their dolls and ponies a bath.

I had hopes of us all playing outside this afternoon, but it's sleeting right now. We're supposed to get between 12 and 18 inches of snow today. It's a winter wonderland outside...stay warm!

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

lining a mitten with fleece

One of the most satisfying things about knitting, to me, is that my children love to wear the things I knit for them.

I made my daughter this pair of mittens a year and a half ago, and she's worn them a lot. Several times a week, during the fall, winter and spring.

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Last winter she asked me to line them with fleece. I went to the store, bought the fleece, and the fleece has sat, unused, in my closet since then. Lately she's been asking me again to line them with fleece. It's been in the teens here so her hands get cold quickly. And when she plays in the snow, her mittens get wet quickly too. I finally decided yesterday morning to just do it.

It was a lot easier than I thought.

I traced her mitten onto a piece of paper and cut that out to use as my template.

I pinned the paper mitten onto fleece that had been doubled up, and then I cut the fabric.

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Using my sewing machine, I sewed the two pieces of fleece together (wrong sides facing each other), with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance, maybe a bit less.

I then tucked the fleece mitten into the knitted one and, using a coordinating thread, hand sewed the cuff of the fleece mitten into the cuff of the knitted mitten. The white arrows indicate where I sewed the fleece onto the cuff--for the most part, it's pretty hard to see the thread at all.

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When she put the mitten on last night, she said, "Ahhh, it's like having a blanket for my hand."

I'm sure there are better ways to do this, but I'm not an experienced sewer, and part of why it's taken me so long to do this project is that I wanted it to be perfect. (They're not perfect, but I finally just decided it would be good enough.)

Both of my grandmothers had a lot of experience sewing, and I wish they were still around to offer guidance and advice. But I did inherit my grandmother Rita's sewing things. I even have some of my husband's grandmother's too. Here's a picture of some of the thread I got from them.
I wonder how old some of this is? 15 cents for a wooden spool of thread?

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I'm making things for my daughters with things that belonged to their great-grandmothers. And for me, that's why handmade always comes back to nurturing a sense of connection.

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