Breakfast and Crocheting


It’s nine this morning, and I am sitting here listening to Weekend Edition on my member station WNYC Radio and writing this blog entry. I am also wondering what to have for breakfast which is ironic because I went grocery shopping yesterday evening and still have to wonder what to cook. I can go the lazy route by having some Greek yogurt with blackberries and strawberries with a cup of oatmeal, or make a spinach and tomato omelet wrap with a sprinkle of cheese. I’m making a conscience effort to have veggies at every meal, and no fat free products like cheese (yuck).

I am doing some crocheting today. I had a couple of things going on during the week. One was my niece’s prom which was a fun evening for her and really an all day event of getting the hair and nails done, make up, and the actual putting the dress with the taking of 5,000 photos, lol. Back to the crochet project, I am almost done with the bottom piece of the cardigan sweater and hope to start on the top piece by tomorrow.

May I get in a walk together as it is such a nice day and getting a little exercise is always a good thing. I think I am going to take a yoga class to improve my flexiability. Well time for breakfast. Enjoy your day.

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Niece’s Big Moment


So, I have been talking about the niece in a few of the blog post about graduating from high school, deciding on what university to attend, and now I am going to boast and bore you with her promo photos.  I have to admit that I may be bias, but I cannot remember when I have seen anyone look so elegant and sophisticated at a prom.  My niece was going for being princess of the ball, and was in fact voted prom princess (although, I still think she have been queen, but she had fun nonetheless).

Her father play the chauffeur for the evening in a silver Cadillac, and her date came from Charlotte, NC (she attended his prom as his date a few weeks ago).  I am not going to write a long post, but will post quite a photos of my niece’s big night.

Putting on a face

A Moment with Auntie

Finished Dress

Back of Dress

 

The Shoes

Front View

 

Side View

 The Whole EnsembleDress with Wrap

Face Shot

With DateDad the DriverWith MomOff to the Prom

These are only just some of the photos that I took of my niece before going to the prom.  Yesterday, she sent me a photo of the girl was voted prom queen, and you can make up your mind if she should have won or my niece.  My niece came in second and voted prom princess, but she liked being the princess better.

Prom Queen

Swiss Chard with Pasta


I was getting hungry, so I looked into the refrig to see what I could make for lunch. I had a package of Light Life Smart “Chorizo Sausage” which is a vegetarian sausage and spaghetti. I decided to make pasta wiith these ingredients. I cook 2 oz of pasta as usual just to the point of al denta because I added the pasta to the pan with rest of dish to finish cooking. I chopped one bunch of swiss chard including the stalks, minced two to three garlic cloves, and cut two links of the veggie chorizo into 1/4 circles. I added a little olive oil into a saute pan and cooked the sausage for a couple of minutes, then added the garlic, and swiss chard along with red pepper flakes. Now you can a little of the pasta water into the pan or chicken or vegetable stock (I had mushroom stock from rehydrating dried mushrooms from another recipe) to add more flavor without using additional fat. I cooked the chard for about 4 to 5 minutes and added the pasta to the dish and cooked for another minute or two. Then you are ready to plate and serve with shredded parmesan cheese.

I plan to use the remaining links for a tofu scramble I’m cooking tomorrow for breakfast. I do eat meat, but it is good idea to have more meatless meals throughout the week. Has anyone watched the new cooking show on Lifetime called “Cook Yourself Thin”?

A Recipe to Share


It is a Saturday morning, I am having my morning coffee and thinking about a dish to make. I remember first eating curried chicken salad for lunch at a place called Elixir in New York City. The place no longer exists, but loved the curried chicken salad stuffed in a whole wheat pita. I decided to recreate the chicken salad at home. You make this recipe using the ingredients:

4 cups of chicken breast diced into cubes
Cup of diced celery
Cup of diced apples (a tart like a macintosh)
Cup of diced red onions
Cup of chopped dried cranberries or currants
2 to 3 teaspoons of curry powder (depending on taste)
Half of teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
Quarter cup of low fat mayonnaise

Mixed the ingredients together and add to salt to taste. The measurements are approximated, so you can adjust the recipe however you want. You always use whole wheat bread if pita bread isn’t available. You can eat this with Wasa bread. This recipe is great to make in the fall when apples are in season and the taste is opitmal.

I lost the cover to my G1 phone, so I am either will knit or sew a new cover from existing fabric and yarn. Well I am going to run some errands and do my grocery list. Enjoy the day.

The Weekend & Grocery List


With the long weekend, I decided to hang around the house and work on projects I have in process.  I have boring things to do such as plan meals for the week.  I have ingredients in the house to make oatmeal and banana pancakes and a tofu scramble, so I can add that to my meals to make.  I am also thinking about getting some buffalo ground meat for some burgers to eat during the week.  I want to prepare a couple of asian meals, so I am going to add edamame and buckwheat noodles to the grocery list.

I went by Borders again yesterday to check out some cookbooks.  I love to cook just as much as I love knitting.  You can say that I am foodie.  One cookbook that caught my interest is the book called “The Family Chef” by Jewels and Jill Elimore who are sisters and private-home chefs for such people like Jennifer Aniston (who wrote the forward).  I browsed through the pages and the books have some very nice recipes that are easy for the home cook to prepare.

From time to time, I purchased the Clean Eating Magazine and its website .  There is a great variety of recipes to prepare and healthy to eat.  I think going to try the Couscous with seven vegetables, but think I am going to change up on some other vegetables that are in season, and have the spices to make the ras el hanout for the recipe to give it the flavor of Morocco.

There are few ideas I have for my grocery list and continue the habit of cooking my own meals and bringing to work for lunch.  I am going to sign off and tie up a few ends and off I am for the long weekend.  Enjoy your day.

My Wish List


Yesterday after work, I decided to browse through Borders Books to see what is new in reading material.  The Cook Yourself Thin hit the bookselves this week, it is the companion cookbook to the new Lifetime series of the same name.  However, I could not resist walking over the craft books section to what I could find in the way of crocheting, knitting, and sewing.  The section is very small and all of the books are crammed together on the selves.  A knitting book could be right next to a sewing book, and I wonder how are could it be to organize the section, but that is another story for another day.  I saw a few books that caught my intererst.  A couple of the books are a couple years old, but it was my first time ever seeing them.  The first book is called “Vintage Crochet” which was first published in November 2007.  This book has some very nice vintage look pattern, but one pattern that caught my eye is a crochet lace dress with flowers to give it a third dimensional look.  The pattern is only done in one size that fit people in the size 8 to 12 group.

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 The second book that caught my attention is another crochet pattern called “Embellished Crochet,” and the tunic on the cover had me right away.  This is definitely not your grandmother’s crochet.  I have to see if this book is available at the library so that I can make a copy tunic pattern on the cover and a couple of other patterns in the book.

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Here is a knitting pattern book with embroidered and embellished knits called “Beautiful Embroidered and Embellished Knits.  I have always wanted to learn how to use beads and other embellishments in knitted garments.  There are some really cute projects in this book and I have been in the mood for being a little more artsy in my crocheting and knitting.

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Another book is specific to different kind of stitch in crochet called “Tunisian Crochet”.  Tunisian crochet is sometimes called the afghan stitch and is considered by many to be a cross between knitting and crochet.  The distinctive fabric created by this technique looks almost woven instead of either knitted or crocheted.   Tunisian crochet is typically worked on a long hook with a stopper on the end –  similar to a knitting needle that also has a stopper on the end so that the stitches held on the tool do not fall off.   Here are a several points about tunisian crochet from the website Crochet Cabana

 1) Never turn your piece. You work down the row on the right side, then back on the same side. (If you want to turn your piece then you might be interested in working with the cro-hook which is basically tunisian, but you turn your work, and uses two colors – and it doesn’t curl.)
2) Always begin the second half of a row by pulling yarn through one stitch only. After you’ve completed the first stitch, pull through two stitches at a time.
3) The last stitch remaining on the hook is always the first stitch of the next row.
4) Always skip the first bar when starting on a new row.
5) You will always be working with the same number of stitches as established on the chain (unless you are doing a decrease or increase)
6) Increases and decreases are worked only in the first half of the stitch row.
7) To decrease curling, purl your first row.

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I have other things on my wish list as well.  A dedicated craft space with a visualization board with my desk, computer, sewing machine, serger (serger on the wish list), and fabric stash, knitting yarn and notions.  The color of the room would be blue, green and white with all my craft books and last but not least a stereo with music from everyone from Chopin to Three Doors Down to Indria Arie.

I guess these are my thoughts for the day.  Enjoy the day and what is on your wish list.

Hump Day


With the pending holiday weekend, I have to work ahead at my job and that means things are little more stressful than usual.  I am combatting that situation with continuing to eat as healthfully as possible and reducing any additional stress.  I have been a little lax with crochet project and have not completed handsewing the leaves to my scarf, but with the long holiday weekend, I think I can find some time to do it.  With my crochet project, I managed to get the second decrease with the first piece.  I have to make crochet four additional pieces and getting excited.  This is my first crochet cardigan and would be nice to have a spring/summer sweater.  I still have to start my niece’s graduation sweater and probably will finish it before starts the fall semester.  She is attending a college in state, so I will still see her.  I wanted to mentioned a website that I used to keep track of things from craft projects to recipes.  It is called Springpad It which I read about in a Real Simple blog entry a few months ago.  I have this knack for writing something down once, and remembering it for that point on and do it with telephone numbers.  I rarely look at a telephone number after the first, particularly if it is a number that I am going to dial frequently.

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Before the leaving the house today, I picked up a book that I have not read in a while and thought it was a good time to read it again.  The book is “Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  I find this reading that goes along with my hobbies of crocheting, knitting and sewing because these activities are about being still and in the moment.  You are paying attention in a world where multi-tasking seems to be an everyday norm.  Mindfulness is not about forgetting, but fully aware of the what is going on around you and there are times when I need to do that.  Sometimes, we can lose sight of everything that goes around us, but there is a time to reconnect and reengage before it passes us by.

On that note, I think it would a good moment to end this blog post for the day.  Enjoy your day and remember wherever you go, there you are.

Chocolate Pancakes and Sunday


I am creating the habit of bringing my lunch to work. It is cheaper to BYOB than paying $10.00 five days a week. In addition, I am in contol knowing what is in my food. I made a couple dishes yesterday to freeze in batches. I made pasta sauce with chicken sausage. I added green, red, and yellow pepper to get in veggies. My second dish is lentils and sweet potato stew, and will freeze half of it.

This morning I made chocolate buckwheat pancakes. I used a mixture of buckwheat flour, flaxseed (got to get in that omega-3), cocoa powder as part of pancake mix. I am a big advocate of using buttermilk in a pancake recipe because it makes pancakes tender and buttermilk is low in fat. Pankcakes can be good and healthy. I think the next time I make the pancakes, I will make a peanut sauce to go along with them or a nice berry compose.

Another recipe I like to make is a frittita which is a spanish omelet. I start sauting the vegetables like asparagus, leeks, peppers, onions, etc. Crack six eggs and whisk with 1/4 cup of milk and pour in the skillet with vegetables already in, and make sure the heat is low. Give it a little stir, season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and finish the frittita by placing into the broiler to finishing cooking and to brown the cheese (that should take a minute or two). It is an easy and cheap dish to make, it feeds four people. You can add meat to the recipe, but I love using veggies.

I still have time to do some of my favorite cardi sweater today and watch the movie Doubt. Before ending this blog entry, I came across a podcast called Cast On (www.cast-on.com) the other day. Brenda Dayne is the host and I find interesting as she has a theme for each show and it ties into knitting. She had an interview with Susan Crawford, a british knit designer who has a website called http://www.knitonthenet.com. She has great vintage knit designs and a book entitled “A Stitch in Time” available in the UK. Well that sums up the weekend for me. Enjoy the day.

My Crochet Project


I mentioned on the my blog the other day that I started my favorite cardi sweater crochet project and it is coming along thus far.  I worked on it during my weekly knitting group at work.  I even started the row to decrease and will work another four inches for the next row of decreasing.  I am finding it an easy project so far.  The photo does not look too bad considering I took it with my G1 phone with the exception of the color is much lighter than the actual color of the yarn, but we cannot have everything.

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I am realizing that my crocheting is little tighter than my knitting.  I suppose the reason for that with crocheting, I am using my dominate hand with is my left.  However, I think I am a better crocheter than knitter or perhaps I have been crocheting longer than knitting.  I began crocheting when I was a kid.  I am sometimes envious how some people mentioned that their mother or grandmother taught them how to crochet or knit as I for the most part a self-taught crocheter and knitter (I think I spend too much time with myself, lol).

This is a short post today as I am have some errands to run and see what is new a the bookstore, make a stop at Whole Foods, and finally trek my way home before it rains again.  Enjoy your day.

Spring and Summer Projects


I wrote in my blog entry the other day about starting another sweater project, and will tell you that I had unraveled it at least four times before getting the texture stitches I wanted. After re-working, I finally like the stitches and now continue the process of doing the first section of the sweater. I have been laxed in the sewing and for some reason do not understand why I cannot get into gear to even cut out the fabric. I know once I get started, I will be able to get into a roll and may not want to stop. There are times when I do become obessive on working projects that day will turn into day before making the realization that I should perhaps stop and take a break. I will work on something for hours whether it’s knitting, reading, cooking or having a political discussion with someone.

As I am working on my current sweater, I am wondering what to make that will go with it. I have fabric to make some skirts and summer dresses, but need to get to them. It probably would a good idea to become a little more structured with creating a schedule to work on my projects. I know that it may should like a job, but knitting and sewing are things I enjoy doing and it is worth the effort to do some time management.

Another goal I have on my mind is getting healthy. It is time to make that routine visit to the doctor. I need to go to the doctor and talk to her about mediciation for my allegries and asthma. However, I want to get my blood sugar checked as well. I have a genetic predisposition to diabetes and want to see where I stand. With that note, I need to watch what I eat. I am bringing my lunch to work with my these days and keeping a shopping list of things I need from the supermarket. Most of all, is the need to get eight hours of sleep which I do not seem to achieve on many nights. For some reason, I wake up at 5:30am during the weekday, 7am on Saturdays, and 6:30am on Sundays. Every night, I tried going to bed around the same time 11p. I think if I change my eating habits and exercise, better sleep may come for me.

I saw the new Butterick summer patterns, but nothing really jump at me saying sew me. Although, I could make some changes and create something different than what the pattern calls for. I make changes to the crochet and knitting patterns like place different collars or sleeves. It is another thing to think about. Enjoy your day.

Too Much Rain: There is Always Knitting and other Projects


It has been raining for the past six days and it looks like I need a rowboat. I am a little waterlogged this week and it is not Friday yet. However, there is always knitting to keep me occupied in the evenings. Last night, I managed to start the crochet simple cardi sweater using the bamboo/cotton yarn I purchased from the Lion Brand studio a month ago. I have only crochet several rows thus far, but it is turning out to be a nice soft garment with a little sheen. I think that project will take me a while to complete as I need to begin knitting my niece’s graduation present, but thought it would be a good idea to start crocheting.

I reading some blogs today and Brooklyn Tweed caught my eye. He knitted a wonderful baby blanket with Knit Picks new tweed yard. It is beautiful and I love the the trim. So if you need some inspiration for a baby blanket read Brooklyn Tweed’s blog.  Another blog that I recently started reading is Weekend Designer which has great sewing project with instructions in how to create them.  Currently, there is a project for the a clouche hat.  I think the hat would a nice accessory to rain gear which I certainly do not mind having on a rainy day like this.

Tonight, I am going to home and make a frittita for dinner.  I have some leeks and mushrooms and think it would be a good idea for a frittita and will also have lunch for tomorrow.  Or I can just bring the chicken soup I brought the other night along with a sandwich/salad to make my morning a little easier and just make the frittita for the weekend.  On that note, I am off.  Enjoy your day.

Back to the Salt Mines


I returned to work yesterday from my stayaction. There are some inopportune times when a person gets a cold and it seems to happen to me frequently. During my sneezing fits, itchy and watery eyes from the wicked tree pollen, I managed to get a cold coupled with my allergies. Yes I returned to work with a cold, but needed to come into work because my manager is on vacation and I am the only person who can do his job. So yesterday, after doing the necessary work, I went home, got into bed, and took a nap. I also did not get a chance to work on my scarf. I managed to cut out the felted wool leaves and was in the process of handsewing onto the scarf, but got sick over the weekend.

I will complete that scarf because I am too close to the finishing line. In addition, I want to start my next project, the crochet cardigan sweater (someday, I will get to my sewing machine and actually get to some of my sewing projects). As I am writing this, I forgot about knitting that hoodie sweater for my niece’s graduation present, so the crochet cardi will have to wait for a while.

I picked a copy of the new issue of Stitch Magazine and there is a pillow I would like to make. It’s called a chrysanthemum pillow designed by Tricia Waddell which is an Asian-inspired silk pillow with a ruffled flower centerpiece. You can use a ribbon yarn to create spiral ruffles. It’s a really nice pillow. There is also a good article call “Print Me” which is about creating one-of-a-kind fabric for sewing projects with screenprinting and other simple at-home printmaking techniques. I think it is a good idea for people to create their own prints and then sew a dress, skirt or top from the printed fabric that he or she personally designed. It would be something I would like to do, but realistically do not have the space in my apartment.

I listened to the Yarncraft Lionbrand podcast this morning while working, and they talked about creating handmade wedding gifts. There is also a segment about dyeing your own yarn. Of course, I thought about dyeing my own yarn as well because it is another thing I would love to learn, but it would mean purchasing a separate bowl, pot, and spoon and there is that thing called space that gets in the way. However, things change so I would not rule out dyeing my own yarn. I am going to say so long for now. Enjoy your day!