Friday, November 30, 2007

Foodie Friday

During and after the Thanksgiving holiday rush sweet potatoes have been on sale at a really great price. On my latest trip to the grocery I bought a few and made a sweet potato casserole. They say that a sweet potato is the perfect food high in vitamins and nutrients an low in fat and calories. And did you know that in South America, the juice of red sweet potatoes is combined with lime juice to make a dye for cloth. By varying the proportions of the juices, every shade from pink to purple to black can be obtained! Yay for Yams!

Here's a very basic recipe for a sweet potato casserole. It's so easy I'm almost ashamed to post, but it tastes great and is a great recipe for kids.

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans (I didn't have any pecans on hand and used sliced & chopped almonds)

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 11/2 to 2 quart casserole. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350o degrees for 30-40 minutes until hot and browned. Serves 6-8.


Crochet in zero gravity

I'm not sure about other fiber workers out there but I know when I'm crocheting my body tends to tense up. Everything from my arms, back, shoulders, even jaw get tired after a marathon crochet session. It's odd because I feel relaxed while I'm working but my muscles feel tight and sore when I'm done. The solution hit me like a ton of bricks while looking for a massaging chair pad for my Mom. There's a new chair out on the market called the HT 7450 Zero Gravity Massage Chair from Human Touch. While this thing won't send you into orbit to experience zero gravity first-hand it will provide a way to escape the effects gravity, or intense fiber working sessions, has on our bodies.

I think I would be in paradise if I could sit in one of these babies and crochet, I doubt I'd get much done though. The price tag is a bit hard to swallow at $3999, but from the reviews I've read about other products from this company the consensus seems to be that the products are very well made. Which they should be considering the investment. They also offer ottomans and the massaging pads you can put in any chair. That might be the way to go. I did a search on their website for dealers and it looks like they're sold in Linens-N-Things, Rooms To Go, Haverty's, and other furniture and department stores. I may have to go check it out and start saving my pennies..and nickels..and dimes..and quarters!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prairie Star Progress Report

Not much new stuff to report. I'm still working on the Prairie Star afghan. <----There's a progress shot for ya! The colors look nothing like what's in the picture. I can never photograph the true color of things. I guess I need to fiddle with my camera's settings. Things are progressing nicely, I just have to keep my bone-headed self in check. I've goofed several times now by placing diamonds in the wrong spaces. Fortunately I've been able to correct things easily. I'm almost addicted to this pattern! It's easy, great on the instant gratification factor, and I just can't wait to see the finished product. A lot of times, especially with large projects, I swear off the pattern as soon as I'm finished and vow never to use it again because I get bored. Not this time, I'm already planning on making one for myself or several of them even in different color patterns. I've gone loco, people!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Prairie Star

I mentioned in a previous post that I was planning on making an afghan for my Mom using the Prairie Star pattern. I started working on it yesterday and I have to say that so far this is one of my favorite patterns ever. I wasn't too sure about the piecing-as-you-go method, but I'm loving it! I've also been weaving in the ends as I go so I won't have to do it later. What's great is the instant gratification with this pattern, it goes very quickly. I was concerned that I wouldn't have it done in time for Christmas because it looks very labor intensive and complicated, plus I tend to burn out quickly with large projects. Not the case at this point. I highly recommend giving this pattern a try. The finished product is beautiful and the instructions are easy to understand. I'm excited to see this one finished, I just hope my Mom likes it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Butt Cushion and other wips

I've been working on a butt cushion for a chair given to Geof by our neighbor. It's a kid-sized wooden chair, reminds me of elementary school. I've been bitten again by the crocheting bug so everything in site practically has a custom-made cozy or covering or something...well, almost. I'm also trying really hard to work through my stash, I'm tired of looking at it. The cushion uses the Spike Stitch which I have completely fallen for. It's such a great way to add interest and it is so versatile. Do an image search on Google for "Spike Stitch" and you'll see what I mean. I got the inspiration for my Butt Cushion from the Spike Stitch Pillow Sham by Josi Hannon Madera over at CrochetMe. That was where I was introduced to the Spike Stitch and my life was changed forever...ok that was a little dramatic. I will say that I look forward to doing more experiments with this stitch.

I also have two afghans in the works with Christmas deadlines. I'm not sure I'll make it but I most certainly will try. The first is for my Mom. I want to make her a quilt-inspired afghan. I've already let the cat out of the bag and sent her a few links to patterns on the web to get her input. My mother and I have differing tastes so I wanted to make her something she'd like. She picked out Prairie Star (scroll down for pic) and Woven Blocks as favorites. I've decided on making the first one. That's about as far as I've gotten though, shamed to say. Some of the yarn suggested in the pattern has been discontinued and I haven't done much searching to find substitutions. I'm terrible, I know.

The other afghan is for a friend. I'm making it up as I go. It consists of single crocheted blocks decorated with embroidery and pieced together. So far I have probably 6 1/2 squares with no embroidery. I'm using some ├╝ber red almost orange yarn given me by my mother-in-law paired with gray and deep in the pic to the left. The squares are the solid red and the embroidery will be done in the gray and blue. Sounds a bit odd, but so is she! Wondering how I got that square over <--- there? It came from an awesome website I found via Heather. It's called ColourLovers. It's a great tool for putting together your own color palettes and create and name your own colors. It's great for working out color combinations for yarn projects...or anything else for that matter! I named the palette you see up there "Morgan in CoMo". It's a lot of fun and very helpful. Go check it out you can find me there under the alias "yarnjunkie", what a surprise, no?

Last but not least is an FO. I made a simple hanging plant holder. It's nothing spectacular, but it is pracitcal. It's crocheted in the round with the bottom most part done in single crochet and the "holey" part is a 5 dc, ch 5 pattern. I made it in a basket shape, just one continuous strap to hang it from. And yes, those are tomatoes in the window. We had a late frost back in the Spring which killed most of our plants so we had to replant the garden pushing back the harvest time. We were still getting tomatoes up until a few weeks ago when it frosted for the first time killing all the plants. We picked all we could before the frost came and let them ripen in the window. It's great to sill be enjoying tomato sandwiches and fresh homemade salsa well into November!

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