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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yarn Along: Better Late than Never


That's what I keep telling myself anyway. This has been a kind of disappointing couple weeks for knitting, actually. Elijah's sweater is still not finished. One sleeve is just about completed and the other still needs to be done. I made the size that would just fit him, because I wasn't sure that I would have enough yarn to make it a little looser. Now that I'm nearly finished, it is obvious that I would have had enough yarn to make it roomier for him. However, as the yarn was discontinued and I had a limited amount of it, I went with the greater estimate of how much yarn I would need. I don't particularly want to make it all over, though, so it will fit him for the windy days and cool nights this spring and likely go to someone else by the fall. Unless he doesn't grow that much.

Aside from not really having the time to work on Elijah's sweater, I didn't get much time to work on Ventus while we were traveling, as I was either busy or sick. Also, I had been working on a coordinating pair of baby booties to go with a bonnet I'd made, to give to a work friend of Rich's, but I only had enough yarn to make one and a third of them. I even chose a third coordinating yarn to do the heels and toes on them, and still didn't have enough. I gave up at that point and frogged.


Cute bootie, though.

I'm also making a set with a vest and hat for this couple. Because we know them through Rich's work, and since I had that dayglow, hideous, florescent yellow yarn, Rich mentioned it to the fellow, and the two guys thought it would be perfect to make a runway safety vest for their new little boy (who will be arriving any day now) so he could come to work with his father. So, I have made the world's ugliest baby sweater vest. Rich said to look on it as an act of love. That is what is pictured up top there, it needs the ends woven in and that's that. It is so blindingly bright it will keep that child awake. The hat is a bonus, as I figured he might as well have a matching set of ugly. It will forever give them a story about their first born child and that wacky lady who made the revolting sweater and hat set.

I wanted to make the booties to give with the bonnet so the fellow's wife wouldn't think that I have no taste at all. I'll give them the bonnet, and if I can find the time, I'll whip something else up that is nicer looking to give them as well.

Since I was traveling, I did shop for yarn, and I picked up quite a bit, since we visited several places with nice yarn shops. I also came home to my Paradise Fibers yarn of the month club package, which was a treat.


Here is the yarn I picked up at our home town yarn shop. The red, mink, lace weight yarn is something I had my eye on last summer when we visited, but didn't get. This time I did. There was one more skein of it that I didn't buy because I knew I'd be buying other yarn, but if it is there when I return, I will. The creamy white yarn is really cool. It changes from cream to pink with UV light. It doesn't even have to be full sun, just real sun light, even through cloud cover, or a UV lamp, I suppose. There is another color that goes from the same cream to a lavender color. I'm going to get some of that and some HiKoo Simplicity in the same base color when we go on our next trip and I have a couple really great plans for what to do with them.


The next shop I visited is pretty neat, and when we used to live in the area I never really had a chance to shop there as much as I wanted. I picked up a few skeins of American and locally produced yarn. The pull skeins are a cotton wool blend raised and spun in Virginia. The other two are a natural alpaca and wool blend whose color name is based on the names of the animals who produced the fiber. That was made right there in that county.


I've been trying to match a ribbon color that came attached to a tag on a dress for a few months now. I want to make a cropped jacket to go with the dress. The ribbon was lying across the fabric and I thought that it looked really nice with the plum color of the dress. It's not something I would have chosen had I not seen it that way, so I tucked the ribbon in my knitting bag and it's been following me along ever since. There was a perfect match for that ribbon. One skein of it. And it's possibly discontinued. So, if anyone out there has six or seven skeins of Lang Amalfi lying around in this same color #760.0078 (it was sometimes also only known by the last two to four numbers, 78 or 0078), especially in dye lot #70703, I'd be happy to buy them from you. The other two skeins are nice wool that are in a similar color family, and I bought them just because they were pretty.


And here we have my yarn of the month selection: Frolicking Feet Gradient DK in Silvered Spruce. A little bit of sock yarn for darning came with it, but I think I'll use it in color work with baby or other small objects. There are four more months of the yarn of the month club after this. I don't know if I will do it again, because of some things that have changed at the store. I'm trying to give them a fair shake to work out the kinks in the system, but it hasn't been as great as it used to be. We shall see. If I don't do it again, though, that will free up some money for a Yarn Box or Knit Crate subscription for Christmas, or even a Magnolia Society Sweater Club, which I held off on this year.

If you didn't see the announcement a couple weeks ago, Saint Helena is live on both Nimblestix and Ravelry. Again, if you like it, it would thrill me if you favorited, queued, or bought it.


I'm looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next month or so. I should have the pattern ready in a couple weeks. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. This is a bit more complicated than Saint Helena, being knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

Because I was traveling, I had more opportunities to read. I finished up The Jane Austen Rules: A Classic Guide to Modern Love, which was fun, though I still don't really like her quoting of Simone de Beauvoir, even though nothing she quoted was wrong or offensive. We read a little more of A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter aloud on the drive. I'm nearly finished with Christ in His Saints! Didn't quite get it finished during Lent. Not even if I count by the Eastern reckoning.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Menu Plan: Partial Week


Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

I've been MIA for a while, as we had the opportunity to celebrate most of the Triduum and the Paschal feast with our church family "back home" as well as getting a chance to rent a house on the beach near our old house while Rich went to a conference for work. After that, we traveled to spend some time with one of Rich's cousins and his family. It was a beautiful and holy time for us.

Sadly, the "vacation" part for me wasn't much of a vacation as I had to drive Rich to the ferry at 5:30 for the first three mornings so he'd be at his conference on time, and the final night we were at the beach house I was so sick I didn't get to sleep most of the night, even though we could sleep in the next morning. I spent all the time at his cousin's sick, too. Though functional. Just not sleeping or eating well or feeling well. On the positive side, I think I've lost 15 pounds. Sunday night, we were able to return to our church and Fr. David prayed for me after I received the Eucharist and, for the first night in five, I was able to sleep all night without pain or feeling sick. That following day I was completely well. I am so grateful to God for His sacraments and priesthood!

We returned late Sunday night, or rather, early Monday morning, and were blessed that Rich had been able to take that day off, too, so we had a day to rest and recuperate. Tuesday night, Rich and I took a trip back to the west side, for him to take an all day class with his boss and another co-worker the following day, and I did some yarn shopping, walking around town, and resting while they did that. That was really my vacation. The hotel had a pool and hot tub, so I availed myself of the hot tub with its jets on my shoulder and back (oh! that morning, I went into the utility room to check the laundry and either the way I opened the door or the cold of that room tweaked my shoulder injury from way back in 2011 when we camped at Yellowstone, so my shoulder hurt and I couldn't turn my head all the way that day - it got better the following morning, but I'm still hurting a little). I finally found the exact shade of yarn I've been looking for to match a ribbon I have, that I'd like to use in a short jacket to wear over a dress. There was only one skein left and it appears to be discontinued. I bought it anyway.

In any case, here is our menu, such as it is, and the Bible readings. Here are last week's:

April 5 Deuteronomy 11-13, Psalms 56, Proverbs 11:26–30, Mark 9:2–29

April 6 Deuteronomy 14-16, Psalms 57, Proverbs 12:1–5, Mark 9:30–50

April 7 Deuteronomy 17-19, Psalms 58, Proverbs 12:6–10, Mark 10:1–31

April 8 Deuteronomy 20-22, Psalms 59, Proverbs 12:11–15, Mark 10:32–52

April 9 Deuteronomy 23-25, Psalms 60, Proverbs 12:16–20, Mark 11:1–19

April 10 Deuteronomy 26:1-28:14, Psalms 61, Proverbs 12:21–25, Mark 11:20–33

April 11 Deuteronomy 28:15-29:28, Psalms 62, Proverbs 12:26–31, Mark 12:1–27

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Christ is Risen!





Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Have a Blessed Paschal Feast and joyous Bright Week!







The translation should say: Christ is risen from amongst the dead, defeating/conquering death by death.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Saint Helena is Live


Our Paschal preparations are keeping me from the blog, but I wanted to make the announcement that Saint Helena is for sale on both Nimblestix and Ravelry! The single mitt on the left is the pattern as I designed it, and the set on the left is a slight variation made by one of my test knitters, using a single color on the thumb. Please favorite, queue, and purchase the pattern if you like it!



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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Three Lenten Recipes: Potato and Poblano Stew, Besan Chila & Potato Kibbeh

Potato and Poblano Stew

10 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup sunflower seed oil or other vegetable oil
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
10 garlic cloves, minced
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2-inch chunks
salt and pepper, to taste
12 cups vegetable stock or water
crumbled panela or other Mexican cheese, to serve
chopped cilantro, to serve
lime wedges, to serve

Chop the chiles coarsely.

Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, garlic, and potatoes, followed by the chiles, along with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and stir. Cook together a few minutes, then raise the temperature and add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook and cover until the potatoes are completely softened, about 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Mash a few of the potatoes to make a creamy sort of broth for the soup.

Serve with crumbled panela, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.


Besan Chila


I found this recipe linked on a Lenten group last year or the year before, but hadn't made it until this year. The recipe was great, though the lady's proportions were vastly off and I had to make many adjustments. The vegan ideologue recipe author who posted this recipe on her blog was, evidently, never taught not to call food gross or other epithets, so the recipe came complete with self-righteous judgement and criticism of any animal products which put me off quite a bit. It is often easier to look for vegan recipes for Lent, even though the strictest rules for Lent aren't absolutely vegan (honey and shellfish are alright, which are definitely not vegan, but olive oil isn't, which is vegan), just because they are a good starting place. This recipe comes with correct ratios and no implicit lectures on your evil, meat eating ways.

3 cups chick pea flour (besan at an Indian market)
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 pound frozen sliced peppers, chopped in a food processor
1/2 pound finely chopped and seeded tomatoes
1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups warm water
oil to fry, not much, similar to the amount necessary for frying pancakes

Mix everything to the cayenne pepper and let sit to allow some of the liquid to come out of the vegetables. Add 2 cups of water until it is the consistency of uncooked scrambled eggs, mixing thoroughly.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, until it is hot, add some oil (better too little than too much), pour the batter by half cup scoops into the oil and fry on both sides. I did serve some harissa with it, but any hot sauce would be fine, like my green hot sauce, or like the Indian sauce made with cilantro and mint. Rich offered a cucumber, tomato and onion salad to go with this meal, and that was lovely.

This was so easy, quick to make, and almost perfectly Lenten (if you are avoiding all oil, and not just olive oil, then it isn't).


Potato Kibbeh

I started with a recipe a lady shared on a Lenten recipe board. I changed up some of the proportions, and the seasonings quite a bit. There weren't really any guidelines on seasoning the filling, so I used the kind of spices I would use for meat kibbeh, kind of mashed up with the seasoning I use for fatayir filling. This is much better than the other potato kibbeh I tried some years back. My one warning is that you cannot trust your taste with the crust seasoning. Be careful not to over salt it.

Crust:
3 pounds white potatoes
3 large onions, peeled and grated
3 cups medium bulgur wheat
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

Filling:
olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sumac
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
about a pound of spinach
juice of one lemon

Peel potatoes, boil, and mash while still warm. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Soak bulgur wheat at least 30 minutes in cold water; drain well and squeeze out water. Add wheat and remaining ingredients to mashed potatoes. Mix well with hands and set aside.

Sauté onions and pine nuts in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Stir in coriander, salt, cumin, and sumac. Wash, chop and drain spinach. Add to onion with garlic and parsley, toss together, and steam until wilted. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Add lemon juice.

Divide potato mixture in half. Pat one-half of mixture into bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Flatten mixture and spread spinach filling on top. Cover with remaining potato mixture. Pat smooth with water-moistened hand. Score tray into diamond shapes using a sharp knife. First cut six equal strips down the length of the tray, then diagonal lines 1 1/2” apart. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil evenly over top of cut kibbeh and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until golden.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Menu Plan: Holy Week


We arrive again at Holy Week. The week we focus on our Lord's Passion, and walk His Way of Suffering with Him. All this Lent, I have been praying especially for our brethren in the Middle East who are walking the Via Dolorosa in a way we do not understand here. They are suffering a passion with Him, and it will bring about salvation with His. I have prayed for their suffering to be relieved, for their enemies to be dispersed, but I have prayed also for them to endure joyfully, and for me to have the kind of faith they have. The martyrs there have gone on to do even more of His work in the world as they pray for us in His presence around the Heavenly Altar.

Last week, I skipped one set of readings altogether, so here are Monday's readings: Numbers 16:1-18:19, Psalms 46, Proverbs 9:16–20, Mark 2. I also forgot to put a breakfast plan down for one day. I'm a bit spacey lately.

I tried to make our menu a little easier this week, because it is so full of services and other obligations. The fast this week is tough. Only our youngest will be eating on the strict fast days this week. I have included the meals planned for them. May all of you be strengthened by the Passion of our Lord, and glorified with Him in the Resurrection!

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn Along: Birthday Sweater and Test Knitting


So, I have four days to be completely finished with this sweater for Elijah. I'm starting to get a little stressed about that. However, it shouldn't take me as long on the second sleeve as this one did, because for some reason I had the wrong row count and was trying to figure out the rate of picking up sts for that wrong number and had to redo it five times before I realized what was wrong. Even though Elijah is 13 today (!), I bought myself some time to get this finished, because his party isn't until Sunday. I've called this a Weasley-ish sweater, as it is more fitted, rather than baggy, since I had just enough yarn for it, and I used the font for the text from the film rather than what was shown on the sweaters in the film.

The test knitting and final editing of Saint Helena is complete, and the pattern should be available on both Nimblestix and Ravelry in the next day or two. I'm formatting the pattern with photos and uploading the description to both platforms. This makes me rather excited, and I hope you are, too! I will post the links on the blog and in my sidebar once they are live.

Nothing has been heard yet about my submission that was just sent, but I did get my contract and proof pages from Storey for the Little One-Skein Wonders book which has a publication date of August, by the way. That was super exciting! Though, I have to say, both Rich and I were thrown a little that the model baby was blonde rather than brunette. Not that they have any reason to try to choose a model that looks like our children, and it is possible that the child was actually one of the employees' children from the publishing company. It was still a surprise to us, for some reason. We pictured Saint Catherine of Alexandria on a dark haired child. But I want people with all sorts of children to buy the book, buy the pattern, and knit it up for their children and their friends' children. I do love this little design, and think it is a great layering piece for small people. Right now I am working on two design projects, one for submission to Knit Picks for a collection they plan to put out next year, and one for me to self-publish. Speaking of which . . .


I'm looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next month or so. I should have the pattern ready in a couple/few weeks. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. This is a bit more complicated than Saint Helena, being knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

I entered a contest on a fellow Yarn Along-er's blog some weeks ago and won! I won two soaps from her Etsy shop, and because I liked them so much, Rich encouraged me to order some candles from her as well. Two of which are now in our candlesticks on our icon shelf. I should get a photo of that. My package arrived the Friday before Amira's birthday party, which was also the weekend I was working hard to get my submission to IK finished, and we had extra kids staying with us, so I just never got the pictures posted here. I did want to share with you how beautifully Lisa packaged them, and how wonderful they are in themselves. Go buy lots from her shop!




The sweet pea soap smells so good! Rich claimed it right away. He says he will share it with me. I have given the gardener's soap to the oldest kids to scrub themselves when they come in from working or playing outside. As I said, the candles are set apart to use on our icon shelf and prayer wall. Thank you Lisa for your generous giveaway, as well as for your lovely products!

As for reading, I did finish A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family. The closing chapter contains probably the best apologetic for large family life that I've read. I still have mixed feelings about the book because, although I learned a lot of different ways to manage different challenges that come up in a larger family, and gained perspectives that helped me, she still ends up promulgating a worldly view about family size that I just can't get behind. It is not her fault, and I doubt it is on purpose; I'm sure she either has some ignorance or misunderstanding about the orthodox Christian understanding of reproduction and married life, but it was still a little sad for me to read it from someone who is also a Christian, especially since that message is already so pervasive in our culture. It's just another voice expressing what the world says about children and family size, and adding piety to it.

Three things that struck me were: her way of looking at the cost clutter has on a family, in terms of cost per square foot per year, based on home size, and rent/mortgage cost; the prioritization of teaching our children into building relationship with them, teaching them the idea or skill, and accomplishing the task or concept; how large families, rather than making people less aware of the limited resources in the world and the necessity of sharing them and using them wisely, teaches up close, every day, about that, as children in larger families don't expect their desires to be satisfied at the expense of others, immediately, or even all the time. It just can't happen. They learn, quite personally, that they are not entitled to every whim or wish. Even if it is a good one. Large families already know that the idea that they use more than their fair share is ridiculous. There are numerous studies that show that bigger families have a smaller environmental "footprint" than the average family, and especially two household families that are created because of divorce. However, this was another charge that I have heard leveled and while I knew it wasn't true, her perspective on why it wasn't true was good. Our kids cannot have or do everything they want, or at least not when they want it.

Elijah's birthday is a prime example of that. He came to me with a LONG list of games and foods for his party. I took it and talked to him and said that if he wanted all of that, his party would have to last a lot longer, and in order for me to facilitate it, we'd have to push his party to a week or two after the Paschal feast. He was open to negotiating on some of the games and foods, and we came to an agreement that would permit him to have a party this weekend. There were no tears or angry outbursts. Our children learn that we cannot provide everything for them, that they need to have realistic expectations, and that they need to participate in receiving or attaining the things they want. And that is a beautiful thing that will prepare them for adulthood and independence that is not selfish or oblivious about the needs and wishes of others.

We're still reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter together and I'm still reading Christ in His Saints. I wanted to finish this book during Lent last year, so maybe I can for this Lent.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Menu Plan: Fifth Sunday of Lent - Passion Sunday


Have you ever had a week (or more) when you felt like you were behind before you even started? That's kind of where I am right now. I'm trying to get back on track, and still prepare myself for Holy Week. But, it is spring now, which is the most beautiful time of year here. I love summer, and I love the sun and the abundance of produce and fun things to do in the summer, but it isn't nearly as green and lovely as the spring is. Sometimes I think we might not have thought as highly of this town had we come to visit it in the fall, winter or summer, instead of Rich having his first job interview here in the spring.

We had a lot of chiles and cilantro and things like that to use this week, so a few of our meals are Mexican style. I think I only have one repeat this week, and that is because I had forgotten that we had an event on Saturday night that made it too challenging to make the meal I had planned and still get other preparations done. I always try to follow the Eastern rules for Holy Week, with varying success, so we'll see if we can do it this year. Just as the terminology for the weeks running up to Lent (the Latin names give the numbering for the weeks, which make Lent last as long as Eastern Lent, and not the shorter length that we in the West have now) and the writings of the Early Fathers do, this week is a hint that we, in the West, have loosened things quite a bit. This Sunday used to be called Passion Sunday. It was the final week of Lent. Not because Holy Week wasn't a fasting season, but because it used to be its own fasting season. It was in addition to Lent. Lent was the preparation and discipline. Holy Week was walking the path with Jesus Himself. So, this Sunday was Passion Sunday, to remind us of what was coming, and then there was Palm Sunday which began the week long walk with our Lord, with our Church. Now, Palm Sunday includes Passion Sunday, they've been mashed together, and so a day that begins triumphantly, with processions and celebrations, ends with sorrow and penitence. But it is the penitence and sorrow of Good Friday, which is out of place at the Triumphal Entry.

Rich told me about a conversation he had with a man we know through his wife and our kids and church, and Rich through some work relationships, and how they have each sojourned on their walks of faith to get to this point of small obedience. Rich said how he never would have thought that he'd come to a point of fasting from meat each year for seven weeks, except for Sundays, especially given his religious background, but how it has matured and disciplined him. This other fellow talked about where he was as a child, growing up as a C & E Christian who was taught to think highly of the church, but not really spending much time there. It was marriage and children that changed it for him, and for us, too. There is something about having a family that makes you reevaluate what you believe and why and how you should live that. We are not even close to perfect there. I don't even know that we are all that good at it, to be honest. But it is something that is on the radar now in a way that it didn't used to be. I read something about how Lent, with its 40 plus days, is a tithe of our year. Not something we give up to God because we owe it, but something that belongs to God already, that we simply acknowledge.

Also, from the imperfection files, I was off by a day on the readings I posted last week. So, Saturday should have been: Numbers 11:1-14:10, Psalm 44, Proverbs 9:7–11, Mark 1:1–20, if you want to catch up. I'm not sure how I got off on that, and I need to see if the week before was off, too.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yarn Along: More Birthday Knitting


It's been a while since I have worked on this sweater for Elijah, but I sure am now. Remember how I mentioned that birthday season had opened at our house? Well, it is on in full swing, and I am now racing to finish this for Elijah's birthday. I have bought myself at least three extra days to complete it because I can give it to him at his birthday party.

The proposal packet has been completed and sent on, but I still can't share anything here. If they reject it, I am already prepared to send it to another magazine, which has a later deadline, but a similar type of request for designs. If they don't want it, I will publish it myself later this year. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and so glad that I have a supportive and appreciative family. They were all rooting for me to finish, thought my finished swatch was the bomb, and Rich, especially was so proud of my work. He has snapped a partial picture of it for the screen saver on his iPad.


I have another design that I'd like to get published in the next two to three months, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern. In the pictures, Ventus is shown in a miniature that I sent to IK for their Summer 2015 issue (in case you care, the color is truer in the second picture). It didn't get in, but I still really think it is a good design. This is a bit more complicated, knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. I made a doll sized version as my sample to send to them, but this would be sized for an adult. I'm still editing this pattern, so testing won't begin for about three to four weeks at the earliest. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern.

Oh! I forgot to mention that I have the beginnings of an Arabian Knits Designs page on Facebook, if anyone is interested in following my work.


I'm so thrilled with this month's selection from Paradise Fibers' Yarn Club: Becoming Art's Cielo in the regionally inspired colorway, Carousel. The colors are perfect for me, and I'm trying to decide if I want to make a fun pair of socks or use it to make a shawl or something else. I don't know when I will get to these fun skeins, since I have so many other projects in the line up, but I look forward to doing it. So far, I haven't made a single one of the included patterns, but it's nice getting them, anyway. Also with the yarn and pattern, they sent a sample of wool wash and rinse.

In the book department, Rich and I are still working on A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter together and I'm still reading Christ in His Saints.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Menu Plan: Laetare Sunday, Fourth Sunday of Lent


Everything is running late this week. I never posted the recipe for the potato and poblano stew, mostly because I never had a chance to edit it beyond an ingredient list. The plan was that I would be finished with my design proposal by Tuesday or Wednesday, but Amira's birthday kind of took over, and I just couldn't get it done in time, but the hard deadline was yesterday. So, I thought I'd get it finished by Friday at the latest. Nope. Then we had some friends' kids over this weekend, and Amira's actual birthday party, and about four or five things to do on Saturday. So, I spent nearly all of yesterday finishing the submission packet and getting it sent in by the skin of my teeth.

Anyway, I will be posting the recipe, along with some yarn pictures from my yarn of the month club and a little about a prize I won from another blogger. I can't post a photo of my swatch for the design, but I'll show you some other knitting. Needless to say, with our busy week, there are some repeats on the menu this week. Rich made dinner for me a couple of the nights last week, and last night, so I could finish my proposal and head to choir practice. Oh, I so appreciate having him as a substitute for me at home, too. He took sick leave, because we had two girls throw up in the middle of the night, two nights in a row (did I forget to mention that that was part of our weekend, too?), and Nejat is showing signs of not feeling well. That, and he has been fighting a terrible cold, too. So, he did the lessons with our kids, and made meals, and just let me be in our room working. He also was my extra set of eyes for finding mistakes.

We had our Saint Patrick's Day feast on Sunday, with our friends, and my Laetare was spent serving, rather than being served. Though it is the Mother's Day of the Church, we didn't really have a chance to do much for me, with the party and dinner celebration. It was a nice time, though, and Amira planned the crafts, so I didn't have to do that. I just documented with pictures.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yarn Along: Birthday Present and Secret Knitting




Here is Amira in her shawl! I realized that even though I had consulted with her about the pattern and on the color choice, she didn't know it was for her until she saw it with her dress for the ballet. She thought I was just asking her opinion. So, that was kind of nice to be able to surprise her. My bright, beautiful, ballerina is 11! I almost can't believe it. We are so blessed to have her. Here is something that tells you a bit about her and how she is different than I am: The first thing she noticed in the pattern of this shawl was how the center sts looked like butterflies (and, later, that the sts make a pattern of flowers on the "wings" of the shawl). The thing I noticed was how one of the rows looked like a set of Roman numerals V and III, and that was how I kept track of whether or not I was doing it right.

I'm pretty close to finished with another proposal packet to send of to IK for for their winter issue. Sadly, I cannot show a picture of it, because it is really gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Which I just did. If they don't take this one, then I'll finish the pattern and knitting and offer it for sale myself, though probably not until the winter. The call for submission had a single theme this time, and it was a challenge to come up with something that would both work with my design philosophy and their requirements, but I think I melded them pretty well. The only big mark against it I can see is that it is knit in bolder colors than they usually choose. As it is based on an ethnic design, I'm hoping this won't put it in the rejection pile.


A couple people have agreed to test knit Saint Helena, but I definitely wouldn't mind one or two more people to offer their perspective and criticism. It is knit in the round, using aran weight yarn, simple color changes such as striping and some minimal stranding, and can use bits and bobs left over from other projects quite easily. I have a facebook group to add you to if you are able to help me this way, and you can talk to other people working on it as well as me.

I also have another design that I'd like to get published in the next two to three months, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern. Ventus is pictured below in a miniature that I sent to IK for their Summer 2015 issue. It didn't get in, but I still really think it is a good design. This is a bit more complicated, knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. I made a doll sized version as my sample to send to them, but this would be sized for an adult. I'm still editing this pattern, so testing won't begin for about two to four weeks at the earliest. It is also an accessory item, a kerchief style headband, and shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered.


Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in testing either of the patterns, telling me which of them you'd like to work on, or both, if I am so fortunate.

Rich and I are reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter aloud. After we started it together, I looked at him and said that I really should have asked him if he liked Jane Austen or read it with him before we were married. What a horror to find yourself married to someone who didn't get her! I took a big risk. So, that is a question I would add to my list of things to learn before marrying. I'm slowly continuing in Christ in His Saints, and still loving it. Also, this week, I started and finished Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home (Holy Week and Easter), which had several nuggets of interesting insights and good ideas for keeping these seasons at home with the family.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Surprise

Someone left her blog open, so this is my opportunity to tell the world how wonderful my wife is. If other fellows knew just how magnificent my life is because of her, they would weep openly. Love you, babe.

Menu Plan: Third Sunday of Lent


We are inching ever closer toward our Paschal feast, we're about half way through Lent now, and the challenge is getting more real. Lent always seems to teach me just how attached I still am to my desires and impulses. Just when I think that I've detached myself from them, I have to give them up and see how hard it is to fight my urges for things as simple as a piece of cake or a soda or bacon. If these lawful things are hard to go without for a short time (and we really do not fast strenuously, as we have a house full of young children and I have been so often pregnant or nursing over the past couple decades), how much more challenging are the temptations to sin and error that I am supposed to put away forever. It is humbling to see how much we must depend on God for even the simplest resolution and discipline.

Rich made us a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs with sauteed peppers, scallions, and smoked havarti cheese, with toast and fruit for Saturday. So, I'm going to try to make our planned breakfast this week. In reality, I am blessed, because Rich really does make breakfast most weekends, so I plan for the off chance that he has something else to do that would keep him from it. We moved a couple of our dinners and another breakfast around, though, so I have a few repeats this week as well.

For two of those, it was because Rich asked me on some mini-dates. We took a walk along the irrigation ditch lines one night, and had the kids help with preparing a simpler meal so we could take the time. It was nice to have weather that wasn't so frigid that we couldn't walk comfortably - I only needed a sweatshirt over my clothes - and to have that time to talk alone before we were too exhausted by the evening's requirements. On Friday, Rich asked me to come with him as he took care of other responsibilities. Since a lot of that was waiting time, we took a walk downtown and found out that the shops were having a first Friday event to draw in customers to shop local businesses. We checked out a couple new restaurants that we'd like to visit once Lent is over, and there were several places holding drawings. We entered about three or four of them, and I won one! This was, evidently, my week for winning, because earlier that week, I won a drawing held by a fellow blogger. I'll post some pictures when I receive my goodies.

This week ushers in birthday season in our family. Amira turns 11 this week, and has the first family birthday of the year. We won't stop until Alexander's birthday in October. March, June, July, and August each hold two family birthdays. April and September are the only months until then that don't have any family birthdays.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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