Quilting Along!

quiltIn my last post, I talked about how I was planning on making a few baby quilts for when we’re finally matched and bring home our baby.  I decided to make a “girl” and a “boy” quilt, and then I can donate whichever one we don’t end up needing.  Since this was my first quilt, I really wanted something simple and easy to do, and I found a really neat pattern from Fat Quarter Shop, called Jelly Roll Jam.  There’s even a YouTube tutorial!

So, over the past 10 days, I’ve been frantically waiting for my second jelly roll of fabric to arrive (I wanted to mix and match from two different rolls, but didn’t realize this until after getting my first jelly roll in the mail).  Once it showed up, it was time to get quilting!  All in all, I probably put in around 10 hours, from start to finish, and I am really happy with how this first quilt turned out!  I machine quilted it and used my sewing machine to bind it as well (who has time for hand sewing?!), and I can’t wait to throw it in the wash a few times to really soften it up!

The “Boy” quilt is next…I’m excited to see how it turns out as well!

Much love,
K.

Baby Blankets

blanketWhen we lived overseas, I would often times run out of things to do in order to pass the time.   We traveled quite a bit (we were there 3.5 years), but during the week, after work, I needed hobbies.  So, I decided to teach myself to crochet.  I had learned a long time ago, when I was in elementary school, but I had forgotten pretty much all of it except how to make a chain, so I needed to relearn from scratch.  Luckily, all things can be taught via YouTube, so it wasn’t too bad!

With my newly acquired skills, I decided that I wanted to make my pregnant friends  a baby blanket for a present.  I liked to crochet, and I wanted my friends to have something handmade to give to their children.  While overseas, I made 3-4 blankets for friends, and after repatriating back to the US, I made several more.  But, I’d never made any for myself (and after three years of infertility, I was worried I never would).  However, now that we’re officially “on the shelf” with our adoption profile, I decided I could go ahead and make a blanket for our baby, whenever that baby decides to show up!  Last night, I finished it up, so it’s ready go to!  I plan on backing it with soft jersey knit material (or flannel), in a boy/girl specific color once we have the baby home, but for now, it’s as complete as it can get.  I’m completely in love with it, and can’t wait to wrap our baby up in it!

Much love,
K.

Crochet Update!

blanketI’m happy to say that my crochet challenge blanket is up to date and back on track!  It took me awhile to get it going again, but with each square I crochet, I fall in love with it a little bit more!

I’m currently at a standstill, however, because I realized that I didn’t order the right green color to use, so I had to go hunt that down last evening.  The green should ship shortly, and once I get my greedy little hands on it, I can kick off a new row.  It’s over halfway finished by this point, so only 5-6 more rows to go.  I’m honestly so excited to see the finished product on my bed (even if I have to fight the cats over it).  Last night, I put the blanket down on the ground to take a photo, and the cats jumped right on it!  Hana is the one in the photo, staring at me while claiming ownership.  I have a feeling I’ll never get all the cat hair out of it.  Oh well…

Much love,
K.

Making Some Headway!

Oh my, has 2015 been crazy so far (crazy in life AND in crochet projects)!    After several weeks months of not working on my Crochet Challenge 2015 project, I can safely say that I am getting back on track!  Unfortunately (or fortunately), a few of my friends were getting ready to give birth, so the granny-smith blanket took a backseat to some ADORABLE baby blankets.  And, honestly, I couldn’t have been happier to get to work on those!  But now, it’s time to get back on track with the Crochet Challenge, in the hopes of catching up to where I should be currently, and then keep going throughout the year!

IMG_0493I still have a ways to go…I’m waiting on some more yarn to arrive (what started out as a stash buster quickly because a reason to buy more yarn…go figure), so there are some gaps that I need to fill in.  If I had the yarn that I needed, I figured that I am about a week away from catching up, if I did two granny squares a night.  So, approximately 14-16 squares behind.  Not impossible by any stretch of the imagination (especially because I was much further behind about a week ago), it will just take some concentration and hard work.  I should be completely caught up in two weeks time, max!  I also need to order more yarn, once I take inventory of what I have and what I need.  I am so pleased with how it’s turning out!  For awhile there, I was feeling very “meh” about the project, because I am absolutely horrible at anything “random.”  I am a pattern girl, through and through, and I really struggled with how a blanket with randomly placed colors would look.  However, now that I am further along with it, I am definitely falling in love!  I can’t wait to see the finished product and to put it on the bed!

Here’s what I have so far…ignore the gaps, I’m just waiting on my Plum color to show up in the mail!

Much love,
K.

Vegan Alfredo…So Good!

IMG_0193Last night I decided to try my hand at vegan alfredo sauce.  J and I have a brand that we really like (Victoria), but we don’t have a grocery store in town that sells that brand, and it’s pretty hard to find, not to mention it’s expensive.  So, with that in mind, I set out to find a vegan alfredo sauce recipe that would stand up to traditional Pasta Alfredo, which is  a favorite of ours.

I won’t lie, I poured over Pinterest, for at least 5 minutes 30 seconds, before quickly realizing that most of the posts used Cauliflower as a thickening agent instead of butter and flour.  Plus…hey…another way to get in a vegetable?  I’ll take it!  I pretty much gave up after that point and decided to make up my own recipe and see how it went.   So, here you go!

The ingredient list is pretty simple, and probably already in your pantry if you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet.  Olive oil, garlic, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, milk/milk substitute (we use whatever we have on hand, typically either rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk), sun-tomatoes, salt and pepper, and lemon juice.  We happened to have everything in our pantry, and had picked up some cauliflower at the grocery, so we were set.

Start with sautéing the garlic in some olive oil.  I used a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of garlic.  What can I say…garlic is heavenly!  However, this is one of those areas where you can go with how much you like.  You want alfredo with 40 cloves are garlic?  Then get on with your bad self!  You want less than that…feel free.  I sautéed the garlic for a few minutes, taking care to not let it burn.  Burnt garlic tastes terrible.   While that was going, I cut up a half a head of cauliflower.  I figured I could have used the whole head, but it was just the two of us, and I had plans for the other half of the cauliflower (roasted cauliflower with turmeric…that’s for tonight!).

Once the garlic was ready, I added a cup and a half of soy milk (use whatever milk you have on hand) and the cauliflower florets, along with salt and pepper (to taste).  Then, you let the cauliflower cook until it’s soft.  It took about 10 minutes for mine to soften, mostly because I was lazy and cut it into big chunks.  The smaller your cauliflower chunks, the faster it will cook.  Keep and eye on it and when it will break up easily with a spoon, it’s good to go.

After your cauliflower is soft, pour the milk/garlic/cauliflower mixture into a blender.  Add in nutritional yeast (I put in 2 Tablespoons) along with lemon juice (1 Tablespoon).  Blend away!  Here’s where it really becomes your preference…the thickness of the sauce.  I personally like a thicker alfredo sauce.  However, while blending, it was a tad too thick even for me, so I added more milk.  Don’t be afraid to add more milk if you think your sauce is too thick!  This is all personal preference here, folks, make it how you like it!

When you’re done blending…taste it.  I decided that mine needed a little something extra, so I added nutmeg to the sauce.  I used to add nutmeg to my regular alfredo, so why not this?  It really made all the difference!

For dinner, we paired the alfredo with whole wheat pasta, roasted asparagus, and roasted carrots.  So good and healthy!  Hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we did!

Much love,
K.

Baby G’s Blanket, Finished!

IMG_0767Yesterday was my dear friend, M’s, baby shower for little Baby G!  This was actually the first time I have EVER finished up a baby blanket not only before the baby was born, but before the actual shower!  I’m on a ROLL!  I was really thrilled with out it came together, as I showed in previous photos, it was a pattern of single color granny squares connected together.  I backed it with cream fleece, and then crocheted a scalloped edge to finish it off.  M really liked it, so that’s what matters most!

Here’s the finished product!  So happy with it!

Much love,
K.

Blanket for Baby G!

Here is the second baby blanket that I’m working on for friends!  The color scheme is also gender neutral (apparently no one is interested in finding out the baby’s sex before the baby comes), and my friend, M, also wanted a combination of yellow, green, and taupe.  However, M really wanted pastels, and C (Baby Stormageddon’s mom) loves bright colors, so I got an assortment of yarn colors to crochet from.

I really wanted to do another granny square blanket, and decided to take some inspiration from my Crochet Challenge blanket.  I really like the look of solid color granny squares, and now that I’ve found another way to connect them, they’re probably my all-time favorite pattern!  Before, as much as I loved granny squares, they were always a giant pain to connect at the end of the blanket.  But now that I can connect as I go?  Perfection!

  So, here’s what I’ve got done so far!  The entire blanket will be 5 rows in length, 5 columns in width.  Each square is a 6″ square, so the end blanket size will be 30″ x 30″.  Plus whatever I add for a border, which will add a few more inches each way.  I’m really excited to see how it turns out!  Plus, I’ve bought some minky fabric to back it with, and I plan on crocheting another owl applique!  Who doesn’t like a little baby owl on a blanket?  Not me, that’s for sure!

What do you think?

Much love,
K.

Easter Vigil, One Year Later

While I don’t talk much about my faith journey on my blog, I was reminiscing the other day about how it has been a year since my baptism and conversion to Catholicism.  The year has been full of learning and growth, and I’m forever thankful for the change that has come to my life since joining my Parish.  The people there are amazing: loving and kind, supportive and helpful, and full of a heaping dose of reality if you get to be too big for your pants.  I adore them all, and love to help out wherever I can.

Which brings me to this post.  A few weeks back, right before we left for Alaska (which is a blog post all unto itself), the Adult Faith Formation leader, Kathy, shot out an email to the RCIA class from last year.  Apparently, each year, the RCIA class from the year prior helps stock the food for the following class’s Easter Vigil.  Always up for an excuse to cook, I quickly volunteered to help set up for the vigil, as well as provide a few dozen deviled eggs for the party.

Now, there’s a story to deviled eggs.  Growing up, it was the ONLY dish I was allowed to help with on the major holidays.  My mother ran her kitchen like a General runs his military unit.  Everything had a place and a place for everything, and God help you if it wandered under your watch.  Needless to say, deviled eggs became my speciality, and I was pleased to be able to share the with everyone this Easter!  However, I needed something with a bit more “oomph” than just regular old deviled eggs.  So, after a little bit of thought, a quick bit of research, and a short trip to the store, I had everything I needed.

DYED DEVILED EGGS.  That’s right…why serve any boring old, white deviled eggs?  This is the 21st century, folks…the land of Pinterest!  Why be inspired when you can be PINspired?!  (Lame, I know…feel free to express your groans)  I quickly set to work, hard boiling my eggs and peeling them to get started.  As a fair note, I have tried every trick under the sun to get my eggs to peel easily.  So far, hasn’t happened.  I’ve damn near given up and just accepted the fact that my eggs look like they escaped from a leper colony (no offense to any lepers reading).  But, nothing a little dye wouldn’t fix, right?

picstitch 2I peeled and cut up my eggs, disposing the yolk in a bowl, and set to dying.  I wanted the colors to be super vibrant, so I bought two dye packs and used 2 tablets per one dye cup, just so the colors would be ultra saturated.  I also used vinegar, though not as much as the packet said, because I didn’t want my deviled eggs to taste pickled.  Because that’s just gross, I don’t care who you are.

The eggs dyed up really well, and I let them dry over night in the fridge.  This morning, I whipped up the filling, and grabbed my icing piping bags to fill them.  I thought that I had some icing tips around here somewhere, but apparently they’ve disappeared (or I never bought them, either is entirely possible), but none the less I made do.  I left out the pickle relish in the filling, as I’ve recently been told that some people don’t like pickle in their deviled eggs (THE TRAVESTY!), and instead opted to cut a sliver of pickle and stuff it in the middle of the filling as a garnish on half the eggs.  Problem solved!

Here are my Easter Dyed Deviled Eggs!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them…it was a ton of fun!

Much love,
K.

Week Eight (and Seven!): Crochet Challenge

FullSizeRenderOy, what a crazy past few weeks!  Between work travel, work commitments, work work, and just…work, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken.  I missed posting on last week’s crochet challenge (even though I actually did complete the squares), so now you get a combined post showing the progress!  I’m excited to have two full rows complete, as it really gives me an idea of how the blanket is taking shape.  It’s also now big enough for the cats to try to lay on while I’m working on it…I can tell they’re definitely pleased.

So, here it is…two full rows!  I’m so excited about this one…I can’t wait to snuggle up with it on the couch!

Much love,
K.

Because I don’t have enough projects…

I know that I missed the last Crochet Challenge last week, which was due primarily because I didn’t a) plan ahead, and b) I was in Wisconsin for business for most of last week.  But, I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, and I have been working diligently on my Crochet Challenge 2015 blanket.  But, because I totally can’t resist a good baby blanket, I have picked up two new crochet projects, baby blankets for my two dear friends who are expecting their little bundles of joy!  I’m currently working on my friend, Cassie’s, blanket.  After that wraps up, I’ll start in on Meredith’s blanket.  Luckily, both are going with a neutral color scheme, so I can use the same yarns for both.  They both picked out greens and yellows, though Cassie’s is more of a vibrant green and yellow, whereas Meredith picked pastels.

IMG_1420So, here’s what I’ve got so far for Baby Stormageddon (nickname, of course)!  I love a good chevron pattern, don’t you?  It’s only a few days worth of work (this pattern works up very quickly!), so I hope to have it finished before the baby shower in April.  If I can, I’d like to finish it by mid-March, so that I can work on Meredith’s blanket before her shower in May.  It’s a busy time out there, and my fingers need to get working!

Much love,
K.