I was checking the surf this past Monday at dusk, and stumbled upon a young man getting ready to propose to his girlfriend. I was lucky enough to watch her arrive and see her face when she saw the display of torches on the beach. Her boyfriend was immediately on one knee, and she said yes. Romance is alive and well at my favorite local right point break.
The surf was small, but the water has been very warm lately.
For once, I actually remembered to take a picture of my recent hand-knits, so I've decided to join a Knit Along, where various people post what they're knitting and reading. My reading of late has consisted of,The Gigantic Turnip, Boo Hoo Birdand Pelle's New Suit, but my knitting needles have been busy getting ready for a new little creature that will be joining the family of a great friend.
This summer babe will be sporting these super comfy pants that I knit out of Blue Sky cotton. The pattern was Picky Pants, and was great to follow. I chose the full-length version, and finished it with an Elizabeth Zimmerman i-cord. I also made a pair of teeny-tiny baby booties, and if the time-gods are on my side, I will have a hat or two for his little head - just in time for our upcoming gathering.
We have an uber-light harvest this week, as we've been busy tromping through the forest, picking up field mice and bopping them on the head. Well, not quite; however, we have been tromping through the forest, relaxing lake-side in the Sierras, and realizing with our weekend thunderstorms, and snow!,
that Spring is reminding us not to rush. Summer is almost here.
Find your way on over to Daphne's Dandelions to take a peek at other harvests from near and far.
Oh, yes, we are still trying to curtail the onslaught of artichokes coming into our kitchen. We've preserved and pickled them, and now we are freezing a good bit of them as well. We cut some in half and left others whole, and after a quick boil, we placed them in a single layer, and off to our lovely, new deep freezer they went. After which they were placed in a bag, and one of these new, fabulous labels courtesy of Martha was placed a-top.
There has been some crafting happening under our roof, and I thought I'd share a bit of what we've been up to. First, is an alphabet set I created following this tutorial. I originally created a set for my son, and when I was trying to figure out exactly what to gift my girlfriend's daughter of the same age, I went on to make a duplicate set. The only thing I may add are additional letters so he can spell words with duplicate letters, like Mama, of course. I used some lovely fabric in my stash from Creative Thursday that works great for either a boy or girl.
And, when I realized I had nothing, for either myself or my friend, in which to store these letters, I grabbed some felt from the cupboard and quickly hand-stitched a envelope. I am a big fan of rotating Ezra's toys, so when these need rotation I'll have just the place to keep them. My organized-self is very happy.
Since this little lady is dear to our hearts, I also stitched up a few heart barrettes to accompany her new ABC set. They were a breeze to make, and like they said it's hard to stop.
Now, here comes Ezra's gift for his favorite little friend. One white shirt, some stencils, fabric crayons and a three-year old are all you need for this project. I let him choose exactly where he wanted the stencil, and I held it while he colored and colored. And, well, we couldn't stop at just one, so we made a shirt for him as well. (washing the shirt beforehand allows the fabric to absorb the crayon better, which prevents the colors from fading) After the coloring was finished, I placed a piece of parchment paper over the shirt, and ironed the entire surface, thus, making the color permanent.
We started and ended our week with a basket full of strawberries. Plucked from the plant and slightly warmed from the sun is our favorite way to eat them, and we've moved into the trying-to-eat them-before-they-go-bad territory. They are coming in strong, and ripening quickly. Soon, we will begin to cook or jar them, but first we are getting our fill of these lovely, fresh berries. We also brought in a good load of oranges, late-season fava beans (though, the before-shucking picture was forgotten), flowers, herbs (yes, drying for tea!), and another good harvest of onions.
To check out other harvests from near and far, head on over to Daphne's Dandelions, and enjoy your Monday.
This, is one of our favorite salads. It is delicious.
The original recipe came to us only using kale as the green, but we've since updated it to use pretty much any fresh greens we have in the garden at the time. Kale, Chard, Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Collards. You name it, we've pretty much thrown it in.
:: 2 large bunches or about 2 lbs of greens
:: 2 red bell peppers, cleaned and cut into fine strips. (optional)
:: 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
:: 1 1/2 cups roasted, salted peanuts, divided
:: 2/3 cup vegetable or olive oil, whichever you prefer
:: 6 tbs cider vinegar
:: 2 tbs packed brown sugar
:: 3/4 tsp salt
:: edible flowers, if available and completely optional
Thinly slice greens, chiffonade is best. (baby greens can be left whole) Discard ribs. You want to end up with 10-12 cups of chopped greens.
Toss the kale with bell peppers, carrot and 3/4 cup of peanuts.
In food processor, pulse 3/4 cup of peanuts, oil, vinegar, sugar and salt. You want some bits of peanuts leftover.
Toss the dressing with greens and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
*In the salad pictured above we omitted the bell pepper, added some sweet onions, thinly sliced on the mandoline, as well as some edible nasturtium and chive flowers.
I am going to begin this post with a disclaimer: I really have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here. If you want a more official tutorial, check here and here. These ladies actually know what they're doing. With that said, let's proceed.
The Lorz Italian garlic was the only variety we were able to harvest and actually keep for use. Since this heirloom variety is supposed to be a bulb packed with flavor and spice, and is said to keep for 6 - 8 months, I wanted to try my hand at braiding. I really did not pay much attention to the fact that this isn't a true soft-neck variety that is traditionally used in these types of braids. I was going to have a garlic-braid, and the fact that 80% of our garlic harvest failed wasn't going to stop me.
I had a total of 21 bulbs to work with, which seemed too few to break into two braids, but ended being a lot to have as one. After cleaning the heads and trimming the roots, I simply tied three heads together with a bit of yarn I had on hand. One of these tutorials above suggests a twisty-tie, and then there are purists that weave them together before braiding begins, and do not use any artificial ties. But, here, I used yarn and it worked fine.
I simply began with three heads, and braided them together. After which, I added a new bulb, and continued braiding and adding until I was done. If you're familiar at all with braiding, it is sort of a french-braiding style. I wish I had more to work with, as I think the second and third braids would look even better. I've debated taking this one apart, but I am afraid I'll never get it back together. So, here it is - our first ever garlic harvest, and my first ever garlic braid. Professional it's most certainly not. But, it's all ours.
When I finish with a hand-knit project, I use any extra yarn to finish off the wrapping. Using this pom-pom maker makes it super easy, and when so much work has gone into the gift itself, the delivery needs a little something extra.
And, it is inevitable that anything having to do with yarn immediately draws the attention of my little man. I swear it's almost as if he can smell the yarn, or something. Even when he's elsewhere in the house, it seems the minute I pull it out he comes running. He absolutely loves the feel and texture of it, and has even asked to snuggle up with a skein come nap-time. The pom-pom maker I use, while easy for me, is much too difficult for his little hands. A home-made version needed to be made.
I took apart a cardboard box, and cut out a circle. I tied one end of the yarn around, and he began winding. It was a bit difficult for him to hold the circle and wind the yarn, but with a smaller circle, or an older child, it may be able to be done independently.
After the entire skein of yarn was wound around, I cut along the end and tied up with an additional piece of yarn - and, a toddler-made pom-pom was had. This little creature of mine is always asking to knit, so a yarn-centered craft was perfect.
One day in his future he will learn to knit. We currently attend a Parent/Child class at our local Waldorf school, and knitting is an integral part of their schooling philosophy. There are also beginner knitting tools such as this knitting tower that enables little hands. And, then there is the research, such as this article that really details the benefit of such hand-work for children. Soon, I will have a knitting buddy, I am sure, if only for a short while.