Lair Improvement

ImageAs you guys probably know, my yarn -dyeing studio is fondly called The Evil Lair, mostly becasue it’s in the basement. I’ve been working with the skeins downstairs, then running upstairs and setting kitchen timers for the dyebaths to snatch some time on the computer.

But now, I’ve decided to make the leap and embrace the basement (especially because it’ll be nice and cool down there for the summer). All of my desk things, references and works-in-progress are now in the Lair.

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Table with fun, vintage floor covering top courtesy of my mom.

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One of many yarn shelves in the Lair. Now I can answer email, list my yarns and plan my business strategy just an arm’s length from my dye pots and winding equipment!

Birthday Fun

It is Birthday Season in our family; for a celebration last week, we made gluten-free cupcakes. Usually, I make bakery from scratch, but sometimes with Gluten-Free, mixes are more predictable and the King Arthur cake mixes never disappoint.

Belle had no interest in the baking part, but she loved doing the frosting. I made a buttercream and stirred in raspberry jam for a little pop of flavor, and pale pink color. We tried using the big tip on the frosting squeezer (that’s a technical term) and she had a blast decorating them all up!

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Big and Tiny Trees

IMG_2397Oh, Christmas tree!

This weekend, we took the kids to the same Christmas tree farm we always went to when I was a kid.

christmas tree farm sign

Summer’s lies just outside of town, tucked between beautiful, rolling hills.

It was strange to be there without snow; usually, the kids bring their sleds and romp around as we look for the right tree. When they were little, we pulled them along behind us, wrapped in their puffy snowsuits.

But the place was just as cheerful as ever:

cottage front

This year was a big moment; Li’l Buddy wanted to cut down the tree himself!

cutting down the tree

He got that saw in there and worked away, and did succeed in felling the tree (with a little help from dad).

carrying the treeWithout snow and sleds, Mike and I used our muscles to carry it back.

With lights, paper chains and all of our favorite ornaments on our sweet fir tree, we’re ready for the holidays!

giant snowball 2

Oh, and we did get our snow, just a day later.  🙂

Our tree gets its own tree

Last week, I had the dear pleasure of having coffee at the Sow’s Ear with Susie Anderson, whose mitten and tiny ornament patterns are causing such a stir on Ravelry.

tiny tree

This weekend, I made her Tiny Tree, and liked it so much, I’ve already cast on my second one! It would be so fun to make one for each of the members of the family, each with their own color of embroidered ornaments…

We also got the holiday baking rolling with Thumbprint Cookies from the book Gluten Free Christmas Cookies. Belle loves both chocolate and lemon curd, so that’s what we made!

chocolate gf thumbprints

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Next, a new recipe: Coconut-Apricot cookies from Carole Walter’s Great Cookies (a splendid gift from my mom in a Christmas Past).

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These looked like shortbread cookies:you roll them into a log and slice them; but they have the soft, moist chew of a macaroon. Definitely a new favorite.

In the lair

It’s Yarn Club package time again! All last week, I’ve been winding, dyeing and working on getting all of the treats together. Clubbies, your packages will be going out in the next day or two!

Have a great Monday,

Jaala

Cyber Monday One-of-A-Kind Yarn Sale

 

Midnight Mystery

I call these skeins One Man Bands: I love trying out new colorways and combinations, and these skeins are true originals.

Today and tomorrow, reward yourself for all of that holiday hosting and shopping with a fun-one-of-a-kind skein. All of them are 20-25% off in the Knitcircus Etsy Shop.

This one reminds me of the eighties; gray and pink!

This Mulberry color is one of my new favorite shades. I may try to replicate this one…In this case, the MCN base was too hard to keep in stock, more’s the pity.

 

Some of my favorite One Man Bands…

Long Weekend

I hope all of you Stateside had a wonderful weekend; we hosted 15 people on Thursday, and everyone pitched in on the cooking and cleaning, so it went pretty smoothly. Our family has so much to be thankful for, and we toasted it up right with our water glasses! At the end of the toasts, Belle had drunk up all of her water!

The hit of the meal this year was the homemade chocolate pie. Li’l Buddy really wanted to make it, so we used what has fast become the family favorite: this Chocolate Pie recipe from Instructables.com. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any photos, but it looked very much like the pictures form the recipe site. I made one homemade regular crust and one gluten-free. For the GF crust, I used 1/2 cup of butter (one stick) plus one cup of our all-purpose GF flour mix. It didn’t need any water, since the GF flour tends to absorb less liquid. We cut the cold butter into small pieces and used a pastry cutter to mash it together.

On Wednesday, LI’l Buddy’s class had a Thanksgiving Feast, so he and I made 2 more chocolate pies to share with the class. It was a bit of extra trouble, but I have to say, of the 6 pies there, ours were the only ones that didn’t come in a bakery box. I guess hanging out with a crafty and foodie crowd IRL and online has skewed my worldview to thinking that everyone makes things from scratch!

The rest of the weekend, we enjoyed brunch at my brother and SIL’s house, and see more adorableness from the twins, now three-and-a-half. Littlest Buddy loves to make music and dance, and Tiny Belle wears a princess dress every single day.

The kids wanted to go to the mall on Black Friday (they’re getting older!) and we did some bowling and saw a movie in the theater, Wreck It Ralph. It was definitely fun and over-the-top, and we all got a big bang out of it.

Mostly, with our house still pretty clean from Thursday, we enjoyed hanging out and actually relaxing (knitting, reading, throwing the football around, fixing things) without a big agenda. We didn’t want it to end! But now we’re rested up for the big holiday rush. Hope you are, too. 🙂

Happy Monday,

Jaala