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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Menu Plan: September 27 - October 3


It's another late week. We started school for real this week, and we are still running on sleepless nights. It is the week of the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, and we are at least getting to slay our dragon. Ballet is so late that I don't think we will get to do our bonfire, though.

Jerome's name day is this week, also, and we are quickly approaching the last birthday of birthday season at our home. It is still so weird to me that all of our birthdays have been celebrated in this quarantine.

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 on Saturday. Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Craft On: So, They Are Not Finished

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But they are still so close! We had a really weird weekend and it sucked up all of my time and energy, and the beginning of our homeschool co-op took quite a lot out of me, too - more than I expected. However, after forgetting what I was doing on the heel flap, and then getting that back on track, I am hoping to be finished with them for real this weekend. Then, it will be back to Qibli and a secret project I cannot share here until October 14, and also back to Mariam's stocking for working on during the weekends. Anyway, there are only 18 rounds left, even counting the bind of round! I am so excited to wear these!

My reading is basically the same, Kristin Lavransdatter and Songs of Praise, and the kids are really enjoying Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Amira remembered me talking about how odd and kind of racist the author was, and how we could enjoy her story, but maybe didn't want to spend much time on her as a person.


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Menu Plan: September 20 - 26

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I'm so sorry that this is late. We have been having early mornings and sleepless nights. The smoke has cleared, though, finally, on Saturday, and now you wouldn't know that we had been socked in for nearly two weeks. We are still trying to outrace winter in our garden, and now that we don't need it to filter out the smoke, the air conditioning units are going away. It is back to chilly mornings and warm days with chilly evenings. I am also running a bit late on my recipe round up from last week. I will try to get that posted this week. You can see the basbousa above. It isn't the exact recipe my mother and aunt gave me, because the recipe often includes coconut, and I had coconut flour I wanted to use, so I was experimenting to see if using that in the batter would work, and it did! However, I still need to tweak it to make the texture of the cake right.

Our breakfast this Sunday looks like last Sunday's and will be the same next Sunday. A local restaurant has been offering a substantial breakfast as a fundraiser each week for three children in our area who are battling cancer. Our children know one of them, so we went last week to support her, but Rich and I decided we would go each week to support the other two, as well. That isn't exactly in our budget slashing plan, but that money is an offering, and we are trying to increase our offering, anyway. Our church follows the model of the Old Testament, in that the tithe is what is given to the priest and his family, and the offering is what is given for the mission of the church, the building upkeep, charity, etc. We always give at least 10% of our gross income in tithe, to support our priest families, and we wanted to be giving another 10% in offering, but often, it is closer to 5%. We try to look for opportunities to give more, and this one was a little closer to our hearts. Our friend's daughter is almost Amira's age, and she has stage 4 cancer in her bones, and we are praying for a miracle. They found out on Father's Day, and the reality is that without divine intervention, she will die. We are heartbroken, and can only imagine how her parents and sister are feeling right now. Please join us in praying for a miracle for her, as well as these two other children. If you would like to give money toward the family's medical expenses, I can send you a link, if you contact me.

You might notice that the Feast of the Conception of Saint John the Forerunner is this Wednesday. Contrary to a lot of anti-Christian and anti-Catholic rhetoric, this is why Christmas is in December. When calculating the date of Jesus' birth, the Church Fathers looked back on the visit of the Blessed Mother to Saint Elizabeth, and when in her pregnancy it was. Since Zechariah had been serving his time in the temple before he went home and they conceived their baby, and there were only two times of the year (given his section of the priesthood) that this could have been, they had to determine if it was the spring session at the temple or the autumn. For several reasons, the September date was considered more likely. Which meant that Jesus conception, and the Annunciation, would have been March 25, and nine months later is December 25. This is the reason that the Feast of the Nativity is when it is. So, in some ways, the feast this week is the first feast of the year relating to the Nativity of our Lord.

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 on Saturday. Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Flashback Friday: Saint Helena (Plus a New Pattern!)


Monday was the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. The search for that cross was the work of Saint Helena. However, it was a happy accident that I chose this week to highlight the pattern Saint Helena. This pair of fingerless mitts is quick to knit, cozy and warm with simple stranded colorwork, and is a great use of bits and bobs of leftover aran weight yarn. It takes me about an hour to make one of these, and about two and a half hours, including weaving in ends and the hands on time blocking to make a complete pair. These are perfect for gift giving and Christmas is only just over three months away.

As a gift to you, I have a coupon code for this pattern for 20% off through the end of the day PDT September 25, 2020, on both PayHip and Ravelry. It is also available for sale on LoveCrafts, but I am unable to create promotions there. I would be happy to refund you the 20% if you e-mail me the receipt of your purchase there between today and September 25. To receive the 20% off, please enter the coupon code elevation in either your PayHip or Ravelry cart.


In a non-accidental way, Ember Days is for sale now on PayHip, LoveCrafts, and Ravelry. Today is the second Autumnal Ember Day, tomorrow being the third, and final.

Ember Days are 12 days in the year, four sets of three, set aside for prayer, fasting and giving to the needy. Ember, in this case, comes from the word simply meaning time or season (a corruption of the words Quatuor Tempora for four times). So, these are seasonal days of prayer. This shawlette is a simple triangle that is perfect for contemplation, with the easiest short rows you can imagine to shape the fluttering edge, giving a little hint to heads of grain and wildflowers in the eyelets.

I'm so glad I heeded Rich's encouragement to finish this sooner than I had scheduled, so we could take advantage of our sunflowers in the photography. Now that we live in the dark of the Nothing all the time, even if the sunflowers hadn't started to droop, you wouldn't have been able to see them! This quick, little shawlette is fun to knit and uses only 100 g of fingering yarn. I hope you enjoy knitting and wearing it as much as I do! I have worn it even as a head covering at church, which was quite cheering. My beta knitters told me they enjoyed knitting it, and liked that it was simple enough to knit while watching television or movies, and some finished in just two or three days.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts on patterns like this one (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Craft On: So, So Close!


So close! These socks should be finished tomorrow night or Friday morning. Just in time to count as a finished object in our first annual Around the World Stitch Along. We are so excited to keep this going, and are looking forward to getting it ready for next year. About the socks, though, I think you can see that I was a little off on my estimate of where to start on the yarn to get identical twins, I should have pulled out a little more of the yarn than I did, so they are fraternal, nonetheless. It's hard to get good photography right now with the smoke everywhere. It's hard to believe that the photo below was taken only three weeks ago.


If you have been watching the progress with Ember Days, you should know that it will be released Friday! If you want the first notice of its publication, please click on that link below to subscribe to my newsletter. I will be sending it out as soon as the pattern is available on all the sales platforms I have.

Though I am enjoying Kristin Lavransdatter, I did a little moonlighting with Nurture Shock. I honestly thought I would disagree with it and not like it, but it is surprisingly engaging and has been extraordinarily thought provoking. I read about 200 pages into it, just after taking a "quick" look the other night.


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Menu Plan: September 13 - 19


This is what it looked like at our house Monday at 9:00 am. It got a little better, though still hard to breathe, then it got a lot worse when the winds changed and brought in the heavy smoke that had been blown to sea. We are supposed to see a small improvement by Tuesday, so I am postponing my grocery shopping from Friday to Tuesday, in the hopes that it will be easier to breathe. As bad as this looks, it is much worse where my mother (and the kids' godparents) live. Please be praying for the entire west coast which is engulfed in flames and smoke right now.

The good news is that because of how well stocked we are, the generosity of farmers, and my getting the inventory done on all the comestibles and libations (hooray!!!) in the house, we can go without a grocery store trip for a while, actually. It means I have to be creative with what we have, and not just choose to make whatever I feel like, but since I know how to cook, we are still making out pretty well. Glory to God, the farmer the boys have been helping keeps sending them home with tons of produce, and we have filled our freezers with about half of what we would normally purchase in a year. His generosity and a little of our time has blessed us and saved us money. He has been sending these beautiful watermelons, eggplant, cabbage, onions, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, jalapeños, leeks, kohlrabi, basil, tomatoes, besides all the green and red bell peppers, home with them after work. We are praying that he is blessed far more than he has blessed us. Even what he has done has helped other families besides ours, as we were able to offer the produce to them, too. Our gleaning club has been doing what it can during this time, and we are getting eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peaches on a fairly regular basis, too. This is besides what our garden is (finally) providing. God is looking out for us extravagantly.

This week has the autumn ember days, and we will be, of course, praying for the Church, her bishops, priests and deacons, those in consecrated virginity, and those called to all those offices, but we will also be praying for the physical and spiritual relief of our country and the world. If you feel led, please pray (and fast, as you are able), on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. If you are unable to fast, you can eat meatless on those days, as a reminder. It is the feast of Saint Cyprian of Carthage today, who said of the Church:

Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.

Please pray for our Mother Church.

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 on Saturday. Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Chocolate Velvet Cake

Chocolate Velvet Cake

So, I accidentally made this for Our Lady's Birthday. We had this quart of coconut cream cheese frosting in our fridge that seemed to be growing, and I didn't want it to go to waste. Also, I hate red velvet cake. Hate it. I do not understand the appeal of red number 40 and sugar flavored cake with a sad, minuscule afterthought addition of cocoa powder. So, I thought I could use the technique only with chocolate in it for real. It turns out there are other recipes for this out there, but they still only had a tiny amount of chocolate, and that was unacceptable. Should I call this Brown Velvet Cake? So, this is what I came up with Monday, and then I realized that Tuesday was the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, so I thought birthday cake was a perfect idea.

The method on this is simple, but you do want to pay attention to the order ingredients are put in the bowl. If your Kitchen Aid broke this week like mine did, it is completely doable in a bowl with a whisk.

Chocolate Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 cup dutch process cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups oil (I use safflower)
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease the bottom and sides of three 9 inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, then grease the parchment. Set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pastry flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Make sure you have sifted through any lumps of cocoa if there are any. Set aside.

Place sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until the sugar and eggs are thick and pale yellow. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture while whisking well. Add the vanilla paste and whisk in completely.

Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, whisking well after each addition, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Stir the vinegar and baking soda together and mix well. Add to the cake batter and mix thoroughly.

Divide the batter between the three pans. You do not want to fill them more than half way.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the center springs back.

Cool in pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn out of pans on to the rack and cool completely. Frost and fill with whatever frosting you like. The coconut cream cheese frosting went extremely well with it.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Craft On: These Should Be Finished, and Yet, Somehow They Are Not


I feel like I should be finished with my Stitch Along project, because they are ankle socks and really quick to knit, but they are not. They are super fun to knit and I am really looking forward to wearing them soon. Even though I did wind off some of the yarn to try to start at the same point, I managed not to match the toe properly, so these will still be fraternal, after all. I worked on them while a couple of my kids got their teeth worked on at the dentist today, and will have time to work on them during knit night tomorrow. There is still time for you to join us in the Around the World SAL, because we wrap up at the end of the day PDT on Friday, September 18, 2020. If you finish a project, you can win cool prizes, too!

I am still reading Kristin Lavransdatter and doing our Psalter study in Songs of Praise (also in the photo is a book I read a little bit from each month - Seeking God's Face: Meditations for the Church Year). We began Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle with the kids.


Linking to Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Sunday, September 06, 2020

Menu Plan: September 6 -12


Fall is definitely in the air here. It's not quite as far as that photo from a couple years ago, but it is getting closer and our nighttime temperatures are getting cooler and cooler. We had the last rigor mortis of summer this past week, and while the weather shaman is predicting some hotter days next week, I think that is largely wishful thinking. Last week I mentioned how we are slashing our grocery budget and using what we have. Well, part of that was taking inventory of all the food in our kitchen, fridge and freezer, our pantry, our stand up freezer, and our chest freezer. We are almost finished with that task, and should finish everything up tomorrow. There is the refrigerator, four shelves in our kitchen, the spice rack and spice drawer, our coffee and tea, our liquor cabinet, and the last half of our pantry storage to do. I have already done all three freezers (including the one attached to the fridge), the flex drawer of our refrigerator (which is just at freezing, but not below) where we keep our nuts and whole spices and chocolate chips and such, the drawers (except for the spices) in the kitchen, all our grain/bean/rice/flour/sugar type bins, the produce outside of the refrigerator, and Rich did half the pantry storage.

We have a lot of food here. I knew that, and we buy in bulk and in large quantities, just to feed the family, but somehow seeing it on 20 sheets of paper (with at least another 12 to go) has brought it home to me. Again, God is good to us. Both Rich and I have felt an urgency to prepare for whatever might come this fall, whether that be more stringent Covid restrictions (though our county has had relatively few serious cases and very few deaths), or economic trouble related to all the shut downs, or shortages, or limits on purchases, or who knows what. We want to be prepared and able to care for our family, regardless of what is going on around us. We are so blessed to have what we have here, and have our gleaning club and generous friends with farms and gardens, and our own garden. It has been good to be able to bless others with that plenty, as well. I pray that you are in plenty, and not in lack or in fear.

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 on Saturday. Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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Friday, September 04, 2020

Flashback Friday: Ostrich Plume Baby Bonnet


Do you need a quick baby present that is also impressive and worthy of saving for later children or grandchildren? This little lace bonnet was made with baptisms, christenings, and other celebrations in mind. It is knit flat and sewn. It can be bound off on the edges, as I have done, or made with short rows instead. It is small and quick enough to try a lot of different ways to see which you like best. I wrote it for the simplest execution because it was going in a one skein book, but there are always more than one way to accomplish things in your knitting. It really doesn't use that much yarn, either. Most people use between 80 and 100 yards of fingering yarn. Which means you can use the leftovers from a pair of sumptuous socks, or that little 25 gram skein of luxury yarn you picked up on a whim. This is a true newborn size. It is small. This is not something that will be used for more than three months for most babies (our kids are a little smaller in the head circumference, so I think they could wear it a little longer). It really is intended as a keepsake and for an initiation ceremony into the baby's community.

This was my first third party publication design. I was working in a yarn shop and Storey Publishing sent out a call for yarn shop patterns. The shop owners encouraged all of the employees with pattern writing experience to submit something. One other lady at the shop and I sent in submissions. The store owners said that if we had any in the book, we would put on a book signing and have hors-d'oeuvres and maybe wine to celebrate with our customers (and, of course, sell the book and the yarn). One of mine was rejected, but this one was accepted. The other lady's was not accepted. We never had the party. They didn't even put out the book with the page open to my pattern in the store, and a stack of the yarn I used next to it.

In any case, it was my first foray into working with other publishers and was a good experience. I have worked with this publisher another time, as well. The pattern has proven to be popular and there are many variations of it to see all over the web. If you are interested in purchasing it (with some corrections that were needed from the book, and an updated pattern with a chart), you may find it on PayHip, Ravelry, or LoveCrafts. Of course, I am always willing to send you an invoice if you prefer not to use any of these.

For a week, through the end of the day PDT on September 11, 2020, you can receive 20% off on this pattern at either PayHip or Ravelry with the coupon code ostrichplumeflashback. Unfortunately, I am not able to create promotions on LoveCrafts, but I would be happy to refund you the 20% if you e-mail me the receipt of your purchase during this week, or send a discounted invoice to you for a direct sale. I hope you enjoy knitting this sweet treasure as much as I did.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts on patterns like this one (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Craft On: Second Sock and Finished Shawl


So, I didn't get a chance to start the toe on my second sock until this week. I'm getting all sorts of practice using a Middle Eastern cast-on, though, which seems appropriate. It is a little fiddly at first, but not any more fiddly than any other small amount of stitches in circular knitting is. I can't wait to finish my Stitch Along project, from Comfort Zone Knits on Ravelry, so I can wear them this fall! One of my goals has been to have enough hand knit socks to last me at least a week. I am not there yet. I have only two hand knit pairs that are mine in the house. That's not true. I have two other pairs that are worn through. So, this will make pair number three, and I have another couple pair on needles that I might get finished in the next few months. In any case, these are going quickly and are a lot of fun to make. There are several sock ideas in my design notebook, but I don't know when I can get to them.


As for my own design, I am looking for beta knitters who would be willing to give this shawlette a shot. I am hoping to have it at my technical editor within a day or so, and then would love to have various knitters try it. It uses a single 100 gram skein of fingering yarn, and is pretty easy until the border, which isn't much harder, it just needs a little more attention to shape with simple (really simple, like much less effort than you are used to) short rows. If you are interested in beta knitting, please contact me. With steady evening work while watching movies or television, you could finish this in a week or two.

I was so glad to be able to pick up Kristin Lavransdatter again. It is really a delightful book, and I hope I get through it soon. I've had several nights without good sleep lately, and it is hard to focus even on something fun. The mixture of faith and culture and the conflicts that can raise are explored in this book in an engaging and interesting way, and I just like the characters.


Linking to Yarn Along, Keep Calm and Craft On and Unraveled Wednesday.

If you would like to receive updates and early notice of new patterns, beta knitting opportunities, and great discounts (plus pictures of new yarns, new tools, fun places, neat hints, book ideas, recipes and more) each month, please subscribe to 1,001 Knits. My best, and sometimes my only, discounts go to my subscribers.

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