Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

It's been a while since I've participated in What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy, but I actually got slightly dressed up this week and thought I'd share. My husband recently got back from two months away at a military school in Alabama and we celebrated by taking our first trip to The Melting Pot fondue restaurant. I'd been wanting to go there for years but the opportunity just never arose (and for the past three years we were living in a place with no Melting Pots). So when I saw the restaurant was offering a Groupon I snatched it up. We definitely enjoyed our time "fondueing," and while the food was tasty, the experience -- something totally new and different -- really made the night. Anyway, here's what I wore:
 
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Dress: Kohl's
Sandals: Kohl's
Purse: Target
 
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My husband bought me this necklace while he was deployed in Afghanistan last year. The blue color and all the little flecks in it just fascinate me. It's one of my favorite things!
 
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Knitting FO: Hollyhock Beret

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 Project: Hollyhock Beret
Pattern: Brambles Beret
My Ravelry project page
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Holly Hock
 
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 Ooooh, look at all the lovely colors!
 
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 This is the first beret I've ever made. I blocked it over a dinner plate as directed and I expected it to be more slouchy, but I suppose it is a true beret shape. It's so soft and I just absolutely LOVE the color. All the different textures made the pattern fun to knit, and I found the design to be quite clever.
 
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I think I'll get lots of use out of my new hat in the fall and winter to walk Conan or go to the store, especially since it's loose enough that it doesn't completely wreck my hair. This hat is so pretty that maybe I'll actually look forward to getting bundled up! (Eh... that's probably too much to hope for!)

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Week in Pictures

Today is one of those days when I have a ton of things to do (clean, do laundry, make the cucumber salad for dinner, do some research for our trip to Tennessee at the end of the week, run errands, enjoy the gorgeous weather) but all I really want to do is read my book -- "Reached," the final installment in the Matched trilogy. It hasn't been the most awesome series I ever read -- it's YA, the second book was kind of boring, etc. -- but I'm nearing the end of the saga and I just want to know what happens RIGHT. NOW.
 
Anyway, since it's Monday and I managed (through sheer force of will) to put my book down, I'll share with you a few pictures from my week, which was fantastic because my husband got home from two months away at a military school!
 
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 On Tuesday, Conan had his first experience with the ice cream truck!
 
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 Playing with Daddy.
 
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On Thursday we went to the Melting Pot for dinner. Neither of us had ever had fondue before (and we were only having it because I bought a Groupon) but it was really fun and quite tasty!
 
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Conan is the self-appointed supervisor of the grill!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Etsy Wish List: July

It's nearing the end of the the month, which means it's time to share with you all my fun handmade Etsy finds from July!
 
Etsy Shop: SlippinSouthern
Price: $99
This 3-foot-tall seahorse would look awesome in our beach-themed bedroom. And I have a weak spot for seahorses now after seeing one in the wild while we were in Hawaii!

Etsy Shop: SlippinSouthern
Price: $69
This whale is from the same shop as the seahorse.

Price: $36+
These colorful necklaces are so eye-catching!

Etsy Shop: NINOTCHKAgoods
Price: $55
This necklace is a lovely depiction of my home state of Colorado.

Etsy Shop: NSPottery
Price: $48
I saw one of these pretty necklaces on another blog (can't remember which one) and now I'm craving one!
 
Etsy Shop: HappyGoLicky
Price: $49.95
The wrap on this bracelet is made from hand-dyed silk.

 Etsy Shop: valliswood
Price: $75
This iPhone charging station made from a log is the coolest thing! There are other options for iPhones and for iPads too.

 Etsy Shop: tashamckelvey
Price: $28
I love this porcelain chevron necklace!
 
 Etsy Shop: waycooltshirts
Price: $20
This Harry Potter t-shirt would be perfect for work at the library.
 
Etsy Shop: StickManJewelry
Price: $37
These teeny-tiny owl earrings are adorable!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Week in Pictures + Cell Phone Humor

Before I show you the pictures of my week, I have to tell you about an -- as the young bucks would call it -- "epic fail" of technology. Just over a week ago, I traded in my trusty old Android phone for a brand-spankin'-new iPhone, which has some cool features like text dictation. You say out loud the contents of your text and your phone magically types it up for you. Fantastic, right?

Not exactly, since it doesn't work so well when it would really come in handy -- like driving on the interstate (the road noise is probably to blame, but still!). I tried to "text" my husband (who is currently in Florida) yesterday on the drive to Indiana, and the gibberish the phone spat back out was enough to keep me giggling for the next five miles!

Here's what my phone thought I said:
Just saw a Boggan flying low over the highway with something in me. I guess it's just a birdbrain week, although your house definitely try my comment has done. (WTF is a Boggan?)

Here's what I really said:
Just saw a falcon flying low over the highway with something in its mouth. I guess it's just a bird-themed week, although your owl definitely trumps my kamikaze dove.

(Context: A dove flew into our back window and died, prompting me to say, "Didn't I get married so I didn't have to pick up dead birds???" And my husband had a close encounter with an owl at his house in Florida.)

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(Cell phone picture of said owl -- very cool, and definitely trumps a dead dove!)
 
And here's my week in pictures:
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 My new phone at least seems to have a decent camera, and of course my inaugural picture had to be of Conan!
 
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 This was the view from our backyard a few nights ago. All those different cloud shapes and colors were so pretty!
 
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 Daisies are my favorite flower, and I was thrilled when they started popping up in our garden. We had no idea what the previous homeowners had planted, which has made for several headaches, but at least they had some good taste in flora!
 
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 We also have two hibiscus bushes -- except I recently learned that here in the Midwest this flower is called a Rose of Sharon.
 
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 "Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right!"
Last week I worked almost every day at the library, so it was the perfect time for my cute new flats to arrive from Zappos! (They're Clarks "Poem Journal," if you're interested, and very comfortable. And they're the only pair of shoes I own that are made of actual leather... coincidentally, they're also the most expensive!)
 
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 Yesterday I headed over to Indiana to see my grandma. We went to Menchie's for dessert. Man, do I miss all those frozen yogurt places in Hawaii! (And bubble tea, oh bubble tea, how I pine for thee!)
 
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 Here's my concoction. You can't tell by the amount of calories in my cup that I had just polished off an entire meal of stuffed chicken marsala and mashed potatoes, plus salad and breadsticks, at Olive Garden!
 
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Grandma took this cute picture of Conan and me. I love it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Doggie Sweet Potato Treats

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Look at those eyes! Conan goes crazy for anything sweet potato, so we recently started making him dehydrated sweet potato treats at home. (I originally saw the idea here.) It's super simple and it's nice to give Conan healthy treats that I know the entire make-up of: just sweet potato, nothing chemical-sounding or hard to pronounce. We make Conan's food, so we might as well make some of his treats too!

Drying out the sweet potatoes is a looong process in the oven, so I recommend making a big batch at once. You can fit about two smallish potatoes on a cookie sheet, so I'd suggest doing at least two cookie sheets' worth at once so you don't feel like you're wasting electricity having your oven on all day.
 
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Cut your sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch slices and arrange on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet or other pan. Bake at 195 degrees for 8-10 hours (depending on how big your potato slices are). Flip halfway through. They're done when they seem dehydrated and don't feel moist to the touch.
 
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Here's what the tops of my potatoes looked like after 4 hours, right before I flipped them.
 
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And here they are after 8 1/2 hours -- done and ready for Conan to drool over!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Healthy-ish Banana Oatmeal Muffins

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This was my first full week of work at the library, and I knew I'd need some hearty snacks to munch on my breaks for an energy boost. I whipped up these simple, sorta-healthy oatmeal banana muffins, which have no flour, oil or sugar. They're the perfect take-along -- moist, filling, tasty and not horrible for you!

The recipe is slightly adapted from this version at Illustrated Nutrition.

Healthy-ish Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Yield: 10 muffins

2 ripe or over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 egg
1 cup milk (regular or almond both work)
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
2 Tbsp honey (adjust to your preferred sweetness level; this amount makes a mildly sweet muffin)
 
Combine all ingredients and divide evenly between 10 greased slots in a muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
 
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Knitting Round-Up

I decided that I want to write more about knitting on my blog. I spend so much of my free time knitting these days, and there's not much that makes me happier than sinking my hands into a fresh skein of soft, creamy Malabrigo yarn. So to get the ball (of yarn) rolling, I thought I'd share some snapshots of my knitting for the past few months. Find me on Ravelry at knittinglindsay.

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 "BFF Cowl"
Pattern: BFF Cowl
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted; Colorway: fuscia
This cowl is such a clever idea. You knit two pieces, your friend knits two pieces, you each swap one and then you have a cool two-toned, two-patterned friendship cowl! I knit both pink pieces (the seedpod pattern) and Veronica knit the cream sections (the cocoon pattern). Veronica is just about to head back to the States after spending the last year in Israel. Check out her awesome blog, Life by the Skein.
 
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"Indiana Fog Mitts"
Pattern: Vancouver Fog Mitts
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted; Colorway: pagoda
I made these fingerless mitts for my Grandma's birthday earlier this month. I love how the yarn has bright pink patches interspersed with the red, and I think it was a fantastic choice for the pattern. The cables really pop!
 
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"Owlies"
Pattern: Horatio and Oren
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Fingering; colorway: hawk and cream
My best friend Katie likes owls, so I thought these would make a fun birthday gift for her. The front is cute enough by itself, but who could resist the adorable owl backside?
 
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Annis Shawl
Pattern: Annis
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow; Colorway: forest heather
I started this lightweight shawl last summer, intending to give it to one of my good friends (whose favorite color is green) as a goodbye gift when we left Hawaii. But after a few rows of the lace pattern, I decided it was too girly and started a different project for her. I got sidetracked with a zillion other knitting projects (mostly baby-related), traveling the islands, and -- of course -- moving, and I didn't pick it back up again until we were sitting in base lodging n Ohio, waiting to move into our house. This is the first project I've ever made with lace-weight yarn and -- ugh -- I hated it! The finished product looks pretty cool, though, and I'm sure I'll get some wear out of it this fall and winter.
 
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Baby Hats... two of many
I'm 27. It seems that this is the baby-making age, because pretty much everyone I know has had a baby in the past year and a half. That has meant lots and lots of baby knitting projects for me. At first I made complicated hats and booties and blankets, but then I realized that those were mostly being used as props in baby photo shoots and then never worn again (you don't really need a hat for your baby in Hawaii), so I created a quick and easy baby hat pattern that looks simple and cute in pictures.
A quick run-down:
With size 7 DPNs, cast on 60 if you think you friend will have a normal-size baby, 64 if you think she'll pop out a big-headed babe. Knit in the round until the hat measures 4 inches long, then start decreasing evenly. (i.e. if you cast on 64, K6, K2tog, repeat; knit next row; K5, K2tog, repeat). Decrease until you have three stitches left (your last decrease will be uneven) and then work an i-cord for 2 or 3 inches. Tie it in a knot, and voila!
 
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"Cincinnati Bengal Cub Hat"
My best friend Katie asked me to knit a Bengals-themed hat for her cousin's baby shower. I used the same basic pattern as above, but decreased more slowly and then not at all for several inches to create a "tail" (she wanted an elf hat look). I added a tassel to the end (it came out pretty good for my first-ever tassel attempt!) and it's perfect for the predestined Bengals-fan baby!
 
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"Bear Cub Hat"
Pattern: Bear and Panda Hat and Mitts
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
This is an example of the kinds of baby knits I used to make. Unfortunately, this hat -- which does look rather adorable on baby Spencer in professional pictures -- was my least favorite knit ever. I found the pattern to be poorly written and the construction of the hat to be confusing.
 
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"Birdies for Baby" mobile
Pattern: Flock
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
Sometimes, though, I still do go out of my way to make cool baby gifts for my closest friends. My good friend Peggy (who so kindly watched our furry baby, Conan, while we took all our goodbye-Hawaii travels last winter) had a baby girl this spring. I loved this bird mobile as soon as I happened across a picture and knew I had to make it. The birds were easier to knit than you'd think, though I did a horrible job of seaming on the wings. (Seaming is not my thing... that's why I've held off on making a sweater for so long!) The original pattern is more of a traditional mobile shape made with wooden dowels, but I decided to be whimsical and hang my birdies from a stick.
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