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December 26, 2010

Romantic high-waisted eyelet lace wrap belt with i-cord ties.  The texture of the Eyelet Pattern reminds me of the inside of a fresh,  juicy pomegranate.

This is an ideal project for beautiful kettle dyed and hand painted yarns in gorgeous colors.

Grenadine: FREE

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Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica [100% kettle dyed handspun wool; 100g/138yd]
#115 Flame; 1 skein

Two US size 8 (5mm) double-point needles

Yarn needle
Safety pin

25 sts = 6 inches Eyelet Pattern

S [M, L, XL]

22 [26, 30, 34] inches between ties when moderately stretched.



Honey Orange Mulled Wine

December 24, 2010

Sweet and spicy warm red wine is the perfect thing to share
and enjoy during the Holidays! Cheers!

Photograph: Tracy Hebden/Alamy

You will need:

  • 1 750 ml bottle inexpensive red wine
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8-10 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Brandy (optional)
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Prep time 10 minutes, serve 2-4.

  1. With a peeler or sharp knife, remove zest from orange in one large piece (or a few large pieces), no bitter white pith should remain.  Squeeze the juice of the orange into a medium-sized sauce pan and add the orange peel.
  2. Add sugar, honey, cloves and powdered spices to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Simmer while stirring until mixture starts to thicken and reaches a syrup-like stage.
  3. Slowly stir in wine and heat liquid over a low flame until hot, but do not bring to a simmer.  Do not overheat (or the alcohol will burn off),  just warm the liquid until it’s steaming and toasty enough to drink.
  4. Strain and serve in glass mugs with a cinnamon stick and a float of brandy,  if you like that sort of thing.  Enjoy!

Eggnog Pancakes

December 19, 2010

Thanks to Joy the Baker for this recipe,  pancakes have never made my kitchen smell so good!

I used ground ginger instead of allspice,  rum extract instead of vanilla extract, and I was out of buttermilk and baking powder so I had to make substitutes:

To make buttermilk: Add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or white vinegar) to a glass measuring cup then add enough milk to make 1 cup.  Let it rest for five minutes before use.  Double these amounts to make 2 cups of buttermilk.

To make baking powder: Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, then measure out the amount of baking powder you need.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

You will also need butter for cooking and real maple syrup for serving.

1.  Melt butter until browned, then remove from heat and stir in spices.

2.  Beat egg and add buttermilk.  Stir in cooled, melted butter and rum extract.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.  Let batter rest for five minutes.

4.  Drop a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto a heated and buttered skillet or griddle and cook until both sides are browned.

Print or view Joy’s original recipe here. YUM!!!

Christmas Two-Face Shawl

December 13, 2010

I made myself an early Christmas present!  I bought the red yarn at my local shop and a fellow knitter on Ravelry had the dark green in her stash (thank you!).  I love the colors together and this yarn makes a beautiful, lightweight fabric – rustic and festive.  Perfection!

Pattern: Two-Face

Yarn:  Cascade Rustic 79% Wool / 21% Linen
MC: Dark Olive #03, 1 skein
CC: Chianti #01, 1 skein

Needles: US Size 10.5 (6.5mm)

Lavender Sugar Cookies

December 7, 2010

Amazing little flower-scented sugar cookies with a crispy baked sugar glaze.

I recommend baking these in small batches as they are best when served fresh.
Preparation time includes at least one hour of chilling.

This is one of the best sugar cookie recipes I’ve ever tried.  You can leave out the lavender or you can substitute the same amount of any tasty edible flower or herb you like.  These are great no-rise cookies that are perfect for cookie cutters, too!

Recipe adapted from

For the cookies you will need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4  cup granulated white sugar, plus more for coating
  • 5 tablespoons powdered confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon dried lavender flower buds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, for eggwash (mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water, more or less, until smooth)



  1. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in the egg, then gradually add 1/4 cup granulated white sugar and powdered confectioners sugar.  Mix well until combined.
  2. Combine flour, lavender and salt in a small bowl then add to the butter mixture.  Mix until combined.
  3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange in a single layer on a plate or cutting board.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with the cold water until smooth and fluid.  Dip each ball of cookie dough into the egg wash then roll each ball in sugar to coat completely.
  6. Arrange coated cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and press flat with a fork.
  7. Bake until light golden brown around the edges, about 9-12 minutes.

Glaze will harden into crunchy candied deliciousness while the cookies cool. Serve them fresh and watch them disappear!


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg. Gradually add 1/4 cup of white sugar and the confectioner’s sugar. Beat well.
  2. 3 In a small bowl, combine the flour, lavender and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
  3. 4 On a floured surface, roll the dough into 2 logs-approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter by 12 inches in length. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. 5 Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. 6 Whisk the egg together with the cold water.
  6. 7 Line an aluminum baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the chilled cookie dough and brush with the eggwash.
  7. 8 Roll the logs into the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Slice the dough into 1/4″ thick slices and place 1″ apart on the cookie sheet.
  8. 9 Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10-12 minutes.
  9. 10 Cool completely. Enjoy thoroughly.


November 27, 2010

Full coverage slouch hat in heavy wool with folded hem and skinny stripes.  Available in three sizes for the whole family.  Experiment with left-over yarn, stripe patterns and fair isle motifs.

I made mine in heavy weight wool worked at a worsted gauge and it’s incredibly warm.  This hat works great and drapes beautifully in worsted weight yarn, too!

Astronomer:  FREE

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View Pattern Page 1 / Page 2

• MC: Cascade Eco + [100% wool; 250g/478yd] Black; 1 skein
• CC: Small amount of similar weight yarn in contrasting color

• Set of five US size 8 (5mm) double-point needles

18 sts = 4 inches in stockinette

Child (Adult M, Adult L)

Approx. 18 (20, 22) inches in circumference (will stretch)

Pumpkin Patch 2010

October 25, 2010

We had a blast at the Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach yesterday!
That’s our big pumpkin score right there getting two thumbs up from Pee-Wee.

I’m really looking forward to the carving party next weekend
and trying out some recipes with ALL those seeds!

I’m thinking…

Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle by Sophistimom


Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds by Joy the Baker

I love these Leaf-Carved Lanterns from Martha Stewart, too.  I can’t wait!