About the Blog

Some people create to enjoy the finished product. I get my greatest satisfaction from the process of creating. This blog is my attempt to share that process with others.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Painting With a Twist

Knowing that I love to paint and never have the opportunity to, a very thoughtful person made plans for us to go to Shreveport's Painting With A Twist.

Here are our paintings of snowy winter trees. Mine is the one on the left with the big fluffy leaves. His is the one on the right with the realistically bare branches.

Previously Completed Project: Seashells

Previously Completed Project: Time Flies

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photography

I finally figured out how to use the "pages" feature on blogger and made this photography page with some of my favorite photos that I've taken.

Recipe: Chex Mix

Description: I created this recipe myself by combining and altering three different versions of the traditional Chex mix recipe I found online to better suit my taste. I hope you enjoy it!

Creating the Recipe:

My Mamaw used to make the most wonderful homemade Chex mix for the holidays. In the past few years, however, it's been too much work for her, so we've been eating the commercial Chex Mix. As anyone who's ever had homemade Chex mix knows, the homemade mix is ALWAYS better than the commercial stuff. I asked my mom to get Mamaw's Chex mix recipe for me, but it turned out that Mamaw always used the recipe on the Chex cereal boxes. I looked at the recipes provided by Chex and knew that I would have to alter them.

Firstly, the microwave directions would have to go. I just can't imagine Chex mix tasting good after having been microwaved. After a few searches online, I found a Chex mix recipe with directions for baking it in the oven. Perfect.

Next, I decided to omit the Wheat Chex. Remembering that I always used to leave a small collection of Wheat Chex in my bowls, I decided that it would be silly of me to include an ingredient that I obviously don't like. Instead, I added an extra cup of Rice Chex, an extra cup of Corn Chex, and an extra cup of bagel chips.

My good friend Margaret M. is also a Chex mix chef, and she mentioned that her self-created recipe didn't taste quite right until she added Tony Chachere's to the seasonings. I therefore omitted 1/2 tsp of the seasoned salt and added 1/2 tsp of Tony Chachere's. Turns out, this was the perfect amount of Tony's - just enough spiciness but not too much.

I also altered the type of nuts used in the Chex mix. I originally bought a can of mixed nuts to use in the mix, like the original recipe said to use. Upon opening the can, however, I discovered that some of the nuts included in the mix had flavors which wouldn't "mesh well" (sadly, using that phrase just gave me a flashback to the movie Clueless) with the rest of the mix (e.g., macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, etc.). So, instead of using the original 1 c. of mixed nuts, I used 1/3 cup each of 3 types of nuts that I thought would go well with the Chex mix: peanuts, cashews, and almonds.

Finally, I increased the amount of butter from 6 tbs to an entire stick (8 tbs) of butter. This alteration was made after finishing my first batch, when I decided that there hadn't been enough liquid to coat all of the pieces.

Servings: lasts just a little longer than a week in a 3 person, Chex-mix-loving household

Ingredients:
  • 4 c. Corn Chex cereal
  • 4 c. Rice Chex cereal
  • 2 c. bite-sized bagel chips
  • 1.5 c. bite-sized pretzels
  • 1/3 c. peanuts
  • 1/3 c. cashews
  • 1/3 c. almonds
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder (NOT garlic salt!!)
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. In small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave (about 40 seconds on high). Mix in Worcestershire sauce and all seasonings.
  3. In large bowl, combine cereals, bagel chips, pretzels, and nuts. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture. Stir gently so that all pieces are coated with butter mixture. Spread Chex mix in a large, un-greased baking pan with sides.
  4. Bake at 275 for 40 min., stirring mix every 10 min.
  5. Cool on paper towels. Store in airtight container.

My Rating: 5/5 (Can I really rate my own recipe? I guess I can. It's my blog, after all!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Boxed Eyelet Lace Stole

The Project:

I found this pattern in the Early Fall 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting International magazine. I've knitted things with lacy elements in the designs before, but I've never made anything that was entirely worked in a lace pattern. This stole has a boxed eyelet lace pattern that the magazine aptly describes as "deceptively simple," with razor-point edging.

Materials:

Original Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist Fino in #2001 royal velvet


New Technique Used: Open Cast-On

This stole uses an open cast-on so that you can go back and add the razor-point edging to the cast-on edge after finishing the edging on the other end of the stole.

Instructions on how to do the open cast-on from Vogue Knitting:














My Progress So Far:



















Other Comments:

This is my second try knitting this particular stole and my third try at knitting lace in general. The first time I started this stole, I left off of the pattern in the middle of a repeat and was never able to figure out where in the pattern I stopped (even though it's only a 5 row repeat). The other lace garment I started knitting just "didn't look anything like the picture" and I ended up having the same problem - I forgot where I left off in the pattern. Come to find out, lace knitting NEVER looks right until it's been finished and blocked. Go figure. I thought I was just bad at knitting lace. Hopefully this particular lace project will turn out well once I finish it....which might take a while, knowing me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry and Bright: Chunky Winter Scarf

The Project:

I found this project in my new knitting book obsession: The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss. It has 52 knitting projects that take around a week, organized by season. My rule for knitting books is that I won't buy the book unless there are more than 5 patterns in it that I would actually consider knitting (otherwise, I just check the books out of the public library to use the one pattern I need). This one had about 30 patterns that I actually wanted to knit. Think clothespin bags, door-draft stoppers, pencil cases, tote bags, and throw pillows in addition to the requisite scarf, hat, and mitten patterns. Love, love, love this book.

Anyways. The project.

This scarf is an Aran-style pattern of chevrons, seed stitch, and bobbles knitted in a chunky yarn. The pattern has a 16 stitch repeat and is actually very simple. I think that it would be a great pattern for someone who was new to cable knitting and who wanted to learn how to use a cable needle.



















Materials:

Yarn: as a substitute for the yarn used in the pattern (Debbie Bliss Como), I used Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande in a beautiful bright RED.

Needles: size 10 (I sized down a bit, because the yarn I used is less bulky than the original yarn.)

My Progress So Far:























Close-up of the Pattern:























Other Comments:

Since starting this scarf, I've finished about 2/3 of it....and started working on a lace stole. I now have 2/3 of a scarf and 1/10 of a stole. Fail. Good thing I finished knitting my mom's Christmas scarf months ago (and successfully fibbed when she saw me knitting it: "No, this isn't for you! It's for me! You don't like that many colors..."). I gave her the "My So-Called Scarf" featured in a previous post. Very tricky of me. (And yes, I made her open her present early. It's only cold enough for scarves in Louisiana for about 2 months out of the year, so I wanted her to be able to use the scarf for more than a month.) This lovely red scarf, on the other hand, is actually for me.

To Nancy Ketner: I'm so impressed that you check my blog every day for updates. I apologize for not being as consistent in my posting as you are in your blog reading!


I'm Back!















Finals are over - let the holiday crafting begin!
(Don't worry, I stole this picture from another website. My apartment isn't this messy.)