Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sketches before the Storm

I prepared for Hurricane Irene by going to Kripalu for the day on Saturday. After Danny Arguetty's excellent workshop on twists, followed by a session with Heidi Spears on "yoga breaks" (mostly breathing techniques, or pranayama, that you can do in spare moments throughout your day), I felt truly relaxed and ready for whatever Sunday might bring. As it turned out, at my condo we were fortunate--less than an inch of water in the basement and a few fallen branches. We never lost our power.

While I was at Kripalu, the rain held off until late afternoon, so I was able to walk the beautiful labyrinth and sketch both indoors and out. It felt like the perfect bookend to the summer, which began with sketching at Squam Lake in New Hampshire.

Kripalu Lawn View
Kripalu Second-Floor View_1
Kripalu Second-Floor View_2
Kripalu Bunny

If you were Irene's path, how did you fare? I feel incredibly lucky, compared to others here in New England. Today's post by Kristin Nicholas at Getting Stitched on the Farm has links to videos of flooding in Shelburne Falls and Brattleboro. My heart goes out to everyone in these towns, which have long been two of my favorite day-trip destinations.

OK, let's move on to happier topics! Number one, I'll be releasing a new pattern very soon. Details forthcoming in the next few days; for now, here's a little teaser:

LoT_Thumb Detail

Number two, work continues on both the sample knitting and pattern writing for Pomegranate, and all's going well. I keep expecting something to not work out, but so far, there have been no surprises or rip-backs at all:

Pomegranate in Progress

Last, a few odds and ends:

***Rebecca is offering free shipping until Labor Day on her embroidery samplers and other good stuff, including the exuberantly colorful Paisley.

***Kristin's slowly but surely knitting up a most gorgeous fingering-weight blanket. And not a baby blanket, but a full-scale blanket big enough to cover a queen-size bed. I think I'll be sad when she's done, because there won't be any more great posts from her about it, such as this, this, and this.

***Plenty of artists are inspired by shells and stones found at the beach (me included). Something else caught the eye of New Zealander Paul Hutchinson. The resulting painting is absolutely perfect.

***My Squash Blossom Bookmark pattern is in another Etsy treasury today. Check out Sylvana Vintage Designs for details. The treasury includes some squash-colored hand-dyed yarns.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coconut-Almond Granola

For my friends on gluten-free diets, here's my granola recipe. Top it with sliced banana, pour on some almond milk, and enjoy a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast. Friends and family who aren't on a restricted diet will love it, too.

Coconut-Almond Granola_2

Coconut-Almond Granola

Makes about 4 cups

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup unsalted almonds
1/4 cup teff or brown rice flour
1/4 cup lowfat unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tbsp. almond extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch sea salt
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Mix all ingredients except the raisins in a large bowl, stirring well. Spread evenly on oiled baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring a few times, until granola is browned to your liking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the raisins. Allow to cool completely, then store in an air-tight container.

I would describe this granola as "medium sweet." It's lighter, overall, than most commercial granolas. If you like yours richer or sweeter, feel free to add more oil, more syrup, and/or more raisins.

I vary this recipe almost every time I make it. Dried cranberries work great in lieu of raisins. Vanilla extract can be used instead of almond. Coconut oil works just as well as canola. If I don't have shredded coconut on hand, I omit it. Cashews or hazelnuts can be used in addition to or instead of the almonds. Toss in some sunflower seeds, if you like. Go with what's in your pantry and get creative!

Coconut-Almond Granola_1

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pick. Feast. Love.

I picked some marvelous things under sunny skies this morning . . .

Just-Picked Sungold Tomatoes
Sungold Tomatoes

Calendula Blossoms
Calendula Blossoms

Brookfield Farm Salad
Today's lunch: romaine, radicchio, tomatoes, cucumber, calendula, all organic, all from the Brookfield Farm, the CSA in South Amherst I've belonged to for 15 years.

If you are what you eat, then I am the Brookfield Farm. Do you belong to a CSA or have a garden? What have you been picking and feasting on?

Snickers, Aug 2011

In other news: it's Snickers's adoption anniversary. She had her annual check-up today and was pronounced in excellent health and at an ideal weight. The vet and assistant cooed over her soft fur, her gentle manner, her beautiful eyes. None of this praise made her any happier to be there, though--she got back in her carrier as fast as she could the second the exam was over.

Snicks in Motion

She is the most joyful, affectionate little cat I've ever known. It's been a wonderful year, and I hope we have many more together.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Squash Blossom Treasury

Squash Blossom Bookmark, detail

Love squash blossoms and/or zucchini? Check out this Squash Blossom Sunday treasury put together by Etsy seller Fae Fashion. It's a sweet compendium of squash-blossom-inspired artwork, jewelry, and other delights, including my Squash Blossom Bookmark knitting pattern.

Squash Blossom Bookmark

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

H Is for Home

I'm back--just back--from the Cahokia Mounds ...

 Monks Mound, Cahokia

the Gateway Arch ...

Gateway Arch

and meeting my great-nephew Alex for the first time ...

Anna and Alex, Monks Mound

My brain is in a postvacation fried state and I'm really too tired to blog. But I have to share some exciting news: my Briza Tank is in Classic Elite's weekly Web-Letter! Today's issue features ten lovely knitting and crochet designs by indie designers.

Pattern: Briza, by Bonnie Sennott
Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk, DK weight, 50% Cotton, 30% Silk, 20% Nylon
Needles: US4 and US6

If you don't already subscribe to the CEY Web-letter, you can sign up at the CEY website or on Facebook.

And now--time for a gluten-free beer and a movie!

Monday, August 01, 2011

ABC in Reverse

C is for Claudia Scarf and crochet ...

Claudia Scarf_1
Pattern: Claudia Scarf, by Rebecca Jackson
Yarn: Classic Elite Summer Sox, 40/40/20 cotton/merino/nylon
Hook: 3.50mm

This isn't my first Claudia Scarf, and it may not be my last. It's pleasing to work, and the results are so pretty.

Claudia Scarf_2

I used a sock yarn that's part merino, part cotton, to make it an all-seasons piece, and I aimed for a width that would allow it to function as either a wrap or a scarf. At 12 inches wide after blocking, it's just about right. I'm almost always cold on airplanes, so this will definitely be in my carry-on bag when I go on vacation this month.

Claudia Scarf_3

B is for backstitch (not to mention Bonnie and Blue Peninsula) ...

B Is for Backstitch

Work continues, bit by bit, on my Stitch Dictionary sampler. At the end of a long day, it's fun to wind down with this little project.

A is for August ... I don't think I'll be blogging much (maybe not at all) during August. In addition to traveling, I'll be getting a new fingerless mitts pattern ready for publication. And I'll continue working on Pomegranate, under the watchful eye of Inspector Snickers ...

Snickers Inspects Pomegranate Pullover
(more info about Pomegranate on Ravelry)

And A is for Arch--as in the Gateway Arch. I'll be up at the top of the Arch soon, enjoying the views. I haven't been there since I was a child and am looking forward to seeing it and other Saint Louis sights again. My family and I are gathering not far from Saint Louis for a reunion in Waterloo, Illinois, where my mom and dad grew up, met, and married. I can't wait to see everybody!

Adios, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen ...