Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yarn Along - A giveaway!






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I'm convalescing today -- and not in a knitty way -- with a bee sting between two of my knuckles and one on my wrist. Let me tell you one thing - swollen knuckles feel about as good as they look. Bad.

So I am reading and spending way too much time zapping my brains on the internet. Nevertheless, lots of yarn-y goodness is still happening. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Lisa from Happy In Dole Valley on a pattern design that uses one of my hand dyed yarns! The pattern launches today on Etsy and Ravelry AND we are hosting a giveaway with Carrie from Stolen Minutes on Instagram.

Anyone who purchases a skein of my Duplicity yarn can get Lisa's Viridescent pattern for half off. Do please check it all out! I promise you will be glad you did!

For those who are joining my from Ginny's blog, I am still reading and still loving both Last Woman Standing and Gap Creek. I like knowing how the Wyatt/Josephine story ends in this case, so I don't have to fear disappointment. With Gap Creek my anxiety that the plot will burst into theoretical flames and burn in an inferno (whoops, no spoilers intended) before becoming dead to me is ever present. Is it impossible to just like a book anymore without it having to have some heart wrenching, devastating turn? Ah. That reminds me. Almost finished with Call the Midwife {the book} and it is lovely as ever, so there. My hope in contemporary literature has been restored. Almost.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Yarn Along - For the birds.










railway park, victoria :: ponies on grayson highlands :: a house inside a house
wood duck :: the falls :: view from grayson :: #5shawls5days

The top pictures are from some of our recent adventures. We have been all over the place, including to Knoxville to help my best friend's grandmother clean out her craft space. We ended up with a small pottery kiln, a boat load of molds, a bunch of excellent fabric (which I cannot show because it is still stashed at my in-laws') and a fair bit of yarn. I'm looking forward to going on at length about my acquisitions in a soon-and-very-soon podcast episode. 

But for now, I am making a fair number of DPN cozies for my Etsy shop, plugging away on WIPs and day dreaming about my Christmas knitting that needs to really pick up. My biggest problem at present is not having enough needles in the right sizes. I always trend towards projects that have the same gauge/weight of yarn and then want to do all the things at once! That MAY be how I ended up possessing five sets of US8 DPNs...

The knitty picture above shows my newest cast on in my MCN Ironweed colorway -- one of the 5 shawls in 5 days mini shawls by Aroha Knits. I love this idea - you learn a new design/shape of shawl with each one, and once you establish the steps/pattern, you knit for 30 minutes and then you are finished. Genius. And cute to boot.  

My book is Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. I am in the middle of chapter five and thus far I love it so. Do join in with Ginny at Yarn Along! Show and tell what you're reading and knitting with us!

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In case you haven't heard, I'm very excited to be selling yarn to support my local bird club team in the Kiptopeake Challenge on 24 Sept. This event is a bird count during the peak of migration on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The Delmarva Peninsula creates a unique situation for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that come down from Canada, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic. Preferring to stay over land and with food for as long as possible, the birds travel down to the eastern-most tip of Virginia, with the peninsula acting as a funnel. There they hesitate to go out over the ocean and circle back in masses until they have enough confidence to head out over open water. This creates an extremely unique opportunity for bird (and butterfly!) researchers to do their work in the few short weeks of fall.

Twenty percent of all my Etsy shop profits from now until 24 Sept 16 will go to support this research at the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory. Selling 100 hanks of yarn will get me to my goal! Please support me by visiting my Etsy shop link on the left of this blog! I need to sell three hanks of yarn every two days to reach my goal. The shop will update on 1 & 15 August and 1 & 15 September.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Zucchini Cake for gluts, funerals, and dog days






swinging bridge :: sugar baby watermelon :: green heron :: reflections :: hitching post

The outdoors has about got us beat. The weather is in the upper nineties day after day. Our little bluebirds fledged the nest this morning and I'm convinced it was most likely because they were so tired of sitting on top of one another in this heat and not really because they were curious about being in the world.

These are the days of my childhood when we would lay around on the floor of the front room, watching soap operas and eating Cheetos while mom would insist that all the house's curtains be drawn for the duration. Farm chores were only possible in the earliest and latest hours of the day, except of course the chores that required liberal use of a water hose. 

While I am not experiencing my own zucchini glut {I'd give anything for enough rain for a glut of anything} I know someone somewhere has a surfeit of squash. Here is my go-to recipe for extra squash and/or zucchini and/or apples. It freezes beautifully unfrosted, so you can bake as many as you can muster in July and August and enjoy them for later holidays, babies, and funerals. By contrast, if you cannot bear the idea of turning on the oven, just shred your squash, zucchini and/or apples, freeze them in batches of about two cups, and bake when the time is right for holidays, babies, and funerals. 

Susan's Zucchini Cake 

* I am not privy to the details of this recipe's provenance, I only know that it came by way of a family friend, Susan. I loved the cake when we enjoyed it together, mailed her one of my recipe cards, and she wrote it out and sent it back. I feel a person's recipes are so much more special if captured by their own pen. 

3 eggs, beaten
1 c vegetable oil
2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c grated zucchini {drained if super wet, seeded if super large, peeled if very tough}

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3 c all purpose flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour bundt pan. 
2. Combine and mix well all ingredients from top of list in one bowl. 
3. Combine all ingredients from bottom of list in one bowl. Sift or whisk to combine. 
4. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Mix gently using spatula or wooden spoon, only just until mostly combined. (Think Alton Brown's "muffin method.")
5. Pour evenly into prepared bundt pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until done. 
6. Turn out and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting or wrapping well and freezing.