[cooking] Chocolate bundt

A chocolate cake in a new design bunt pan:

Chocolate bundt for dinner guest tonight. Plus two bottle of wine 🍷 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

Had a friend over for dinner last night and made the usual easy roasted whole chicken, roasted tri-colored new potatoes, steamed broccoli. And chocolate cake for dessert. And two bottles of wine.

The recipe is Chocolate Pound Cake in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Cookbook.

Earlier in the week, I tried making onion rings. There were even some onion hearts:

Onion ring hearts! 💛

It was a legit disaster. I deep fry at home maybe once a year and I've never made onion rings before. I tried the flour > egg > panko. None of the breading stuck and they were gross. I whipped up a quick beer batter and tried to salvage some of the rings... but I was frying in batches and by the time I finished frying sea scallops, the onion rings were cold. So I'm not going to fry anything at home ever again and just save it for when we go out to eat. 

TGIF. I just got the Adventure Time Official Cookbook and want to try some recipes from that this weekend. The recipes are good- there's even one for Super Porp soda- which they've written as a grape kombucha. I've never made kombucha at home but would love to give it a try this coming fall when I harvest wild grapes around the property. I feel like I'll probably make Jake's bacon pancakes this weekend. Party God has a recipe for breakfast pizza. Cinnamon Bun's cinnamon buns. Lumpy Space Princess keeps reminding you to add beans to everything. It's an amusing cookbook.


[gardening] Daffodils

I couldn't resist getting some spring bulbs last week. 

Tiny little daffodils that I put in a few days ago. Will probably make a later appearance next year.

I planted some daffodil bulbs many years ago on the lower lawn, with the hope that they would naturalize and spread and my lawn could eventually be a mass of daffodils until we mowed for the first time of the year. But they eventually just petered out after a few years.

So I bought some more and put then in the front flowerbed, along with some tulips. (This all just reminds me of the tulip bulbs I tried to bring home from Holland last fall but where confiscated by US Customs... #neverforget.)

I have a few random bulbs that I planted last fall coming up in the lower flower bed. Maybe allium? I can't remember.

It's almost friiiiidddaaaayyyy. 


[crochet] Lost in Time

Starting a new shawl:

Starting something new... #crochet

Can't decide if I love it or "meh" it. I'm just going to keep on working on it. I've got so much of this yarn to use up. 


[crochet] Alter Ego Potholders

Still working on crochet-only this month. I finished a few double-thick potholders:

Three new double-thick hot pads and two little oval rugs. #crochet

Yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery Somerset (cotton/silk), discontinued, 3 balls: purple, pink, green.

Hook: F (3.75mm)

Notes: The original pattern is for an afghan square. It starts with a circle, alternating colors for each half, and then you square it up. I followed the instructions for the round portion (and added an extra round) and made two circles- then I put them back to back and did a single crochet to bind them. Twice as thick, machine washable, bright and cheerful.

I didn't have enough leftovers for another potholder so I made quick little oval rugs. Which I started using right away:

Using the little crocheted rugs under vases.

These were all quick to make and I used nearly every last bit of three balls of Somerset that have been taking up space in my stash for years.

I am going to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the first weekend in May and I'm so excited. I have a friend that lives in the DC Metro area now, so I have a place to stay and someone to come with. It should be flipping awesome. I went to Rhinebeck maaaany years ago and it was huge and overwhelming. I'm sure this will be the same but I've got to experience it once. I'll try to use up as much yarn as possible between now and then... to justify all the yarn and fiber I will inevitably end up buying there.

If you're local, the 5 Colleges Book Sale is this weekend at the Lebanon High School. Will probably go Saturday morning and get into line. I'll be looking for craft books and maybe some gardening reference books.


[vermont] Rainbow

Yesterday evening:

All the way across the sky rainbow 🌈 #vermont

That's rainbow ridge over there. Whenever we get light rain and sunshine, there's always a rainbow to the east. We were on our way to dinner when I looked over and saw the complete arch over one of the wild apple trees. You can see a faint 2nd rainbow above the more vibrant one. 

I'm glad that the weather has warmed and I was able to spend some time outside, cleaning up flower beds. Some crocuses on the front lawn are the only things blooming at the moment:

Crocuses on the front lawn blooming. #vermont


Continuing to clean up flower beds and paw around, inspecting early growth. Crocuses are still the only things blooming.

As I was clearing away old, dead growth, I was surprised at how much green I saw coming up.

Irises, everywhere:

Irises for days and days.

These hyacinths I found hiding under some old catmint foliage:

Worked on cleaning up flower beds this afternoon. Found these hyacinths hiding under old catmint foliage.

Early stages of what will be 5+ foot tall delphinium this summer:

The (very) early stages of 5ft tall delphinium.

Daylilies are coming. I couldn't resist getting some daffodils and tulips to put out front near grape hyacinths. In the shade bed behind the house, the snow has only just melted but hostas and bleeding hearts and primula are coming. I'm cutting back (hopefully not too much) shrubs and old perennials. It's nice to be working outside again. 

[cooking] Chocolate Babka

King Arthur Flour's bakalong challenge for the month of April is chocolate babka. And it was pretty easy!

Yesterday's babka for breakfast. #kingarthurflour #bakealong #chocolatebabka

I mixed up all the ingredients in my stand mixer and then moved the dough to the oven to rise.

Chocolate Babka

I divided the dough in half and rolled each out just larger than a silpat mat. Then I smeared the butter/sugar/cocoa mixture and sprinkled chopped chocolate chips:

Chocolate Babka

Then I rolled them up and cut lengthwise:

Chocolate Babka

The twisting took a little finagling:

Chocolate Babka

Two loaves, ready for a final rise (the one of the left was my first attempt):

Chocolate babka, into pans for a final rise. #kingarthurflour #bakealong #chocolatebabka

An hour later, nice and puffy:

Chocolate Babka

After baking:

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

So I had a slice (or two) and then my cold/flu kicked into high gear Sunday. I started to feel a little off at the end of last week- working with students all week, getting their germs. Sigh. By Sunday afternoon, I couldn't taste or smell anything (I made soup for supper- NO idea how it tasted) and I was having chills shooting down my spine any time I came out from underneath blankets. 

I cut up both loaves into individual slices and put each slice into a separate sandwich bag and stacked them all in the freezer. The plan is to just pop a frozen slice into the toaster as needed. I have no appetite because I can't taste anything and I'm not going to waste the babka. Hopefully now this sweet bread should last for weeks.


[vermont] April Fools

This is another one of my super-busy work weeks, so I don't have much to show in terms of crafty stuff. I've not had time to do anything other than get up, go to work, werk werk werk werk werk (he see me do me durr durr durr durr durr), get home, make supper, eat late and go to bed. What a glamorous life I lead.

The weather has been pretty rainy and not-awesome this week. And this is after an April Fools Day blizzard last Saturday:

Saturday, April 1

Saturday, April 1

Saturday, April 1.

That was five days ago. You know what the forecast temperature is for next Tuesday, five days from now? 76 degrees. SEVENTY-SIX DEGREES. I assume temperatures will reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit before the end of April? Maybe? Things around here should be as hot as the surface of the sun by this summer? Yes? Is that how weather works? No? I'm just... not ready to go from "Yay, snowshoeing" to shorts/flipflops/air conditioning in ten days. I am ready for spring weather and plants and gardening... but the rapid change in weather is just kind of alarming.

Looking forward to a half day tomorrow! TGI(almost)F.


[knitting] Tree of Life baby blanket

Working on a baby blanket:

Baby blanket almost done. One more panel to go. #knitting #babyknits

Once this is done, I'm moving on to crocheted items. The Sophie's Universe afghan that I keep threatening to finish. A crocheted shawl and a new crocheted baby blanket. Amigurumi. April is going to be crochet-only month for me. 


[knitting] A year of handknit baby items...

Last Sunday morning after I cast off both striped Coffee Bean sweaters and sewed in all the ends, I picked up all the baby sweaters and brought them to my craft room desk. I dumped out all my buttons and started pawing through them...

I've been procrastinating sewing buttons on baby sweaters by knitting more baby sweaters. So many buttons to sew now! 😅

I finally settled on:

Final button choices. Make it work. #knitting #buttons

The crazy sweater got small mis-matched buttons:

This sweater is getting mismatched buttons.

All the finished sweaters, which I brought to my sister's yesterday:

Done. ✅✅✅✅✅✅

She had all the handknits that I've made over the last year for my niece laid out:

My sister laid out all the handmade things I've made for my niece. ❤️💛💚💙💜 Still so much I want to make...

So much made! So much more I want to make!

We distracted the little one with a video of herself, so I could snap a picture of her in one of the cardigans:

Distracting Ripley with a video so I can take a pic of her wearing one of the sweaters. 💜💚💛💙💖❤️


This was the state of my table at the end of the couch after working on so many projects:

My end table after working on a dozen projects. Time to organize and pick a new dozen.

Time to organize, put everything away... and start a bunch of new projects.


[knitting] Coffee Bean Cardigans

Two little striped cardigans:

Coffee Bean Cardigan

Coffee Bean Cardigan

After forcing myself to be all laissez-faire about my lack of control over the color pooling in yesterday's short-sleeved cardigan, I think I wanted order for the next projects. So two striped cardigans it was.

The pattern is Little Coffee Bean Cardigan (free on Ravelry) and the yarn is Salishan from Knit Picks. Never heard of that yarn? It was one of KP's first, when they first opened online. It's sooooo discontinued. Four colors (two balls each) have been in my stash for ages. I'm often digging through my stash looking for superwash yarn (I don't have much) to make things for my niece and even though this yarn's ball band said "hand wash only", the wool/cotton fiber content was enough to make me knit a small swatch and machine wash/dry. It didn't felt so I knew I could use it for baby stuff.

These were quick knits- apart form the sleeves. I'm adding striped sleeves to the list of things I hate to do. You know what's already on that list? Sewing buttons. I've been knitting so many baby sweaters and putting off sewing buttons by knitting more baby sweaters. This inevitably led to a pile of baby sweaters that all need buttons.

So I spent Sunday Morning with my button stash and settled on the following for these coffee beans:

Wooden buttons by @katrinkles_knitting_jewelry #knitting #buttons

Buttons and thread

Happy with how they turned out. I'm heading over to my sister's today to drop them off.


[knitting] Crazy sweater

I finally finished up a pile of baby cardigans for my niece this past weekend- sewing buttons on them and everything (just like proper sweaters have!). I wrapped up this interesting little number:

Eyelet yoke cardigan (sans eyelet yoke)

I was on an eyelet yoke cardigan kick after the first two I made came out so cute. Then I pulled out some colorful yarn and did the same pattern but with no eyelets. My main beef with the finished sweater is that the colors don't line up in the front. Doubling-down on on the lack of symmetry, I opted for small, mis-matched buttons from my button stash (hey- at least this used up some lone buttons!).

One thing to note is that it's short sleeved. Ran out of yarn. Can't remember the yarn name off the top of my head- I bought two balls at Country Woolens before it closed this winter. 


[cooking] Chocolate Bundt Castle

I ordered some fun cooking things last week (my reward for making it through another week of 6 am to 6 pm work days)- a couple of which were new bundt pans. I used a chocolate pound cake recipe from King Arthur Flour (from their Baker's Companion Cookbook, not the chocolate bundt recipe they've posting online for the Year of the Bundt) and poured it into a Castle-shaped pan.

Chocolate castle cake with powdered sugar snow. Next time I'll make red velvet and it can be a Corps castle. #baking #yearofthebundt

The resulting dark Dutch double cocoa cake was so dark, it was hard to distinguish some of the features. And since it's still doing this here:

Winter 4eva

I decided a dusting of powdered sugar over it all would make a nice, snowy castle.

This cake is great. So dark, so chocolate-y. I reduced the recipe by 1/3 for fear of the cake rising and boiling over, but that didn't happen. I would happily make this recipe again and do the full ingredient amounts. The castle bundt worked perfectly. I sprayed with non-stick spray right before pouring in the batter. I baked at 325 for 45 - 50 min. Not the full suggested time because of the way the batter is distributed (thinner at the top of the turrets, thicker near the base), my nose had me worrying about burning.


[misc] Rocky Friday

Rocky has figured out a way to hippty-hop all the way up to the top of the cat tower:

The rabbit has found a way to climb all the way up the cat tower. Time to rearrange some furniture around the bottom. 🐰 #houserabbit

Things were moved around the base after this picture, so he's not able to do it again.

TGIF. Next week marks another busy BUSY week for me. I'm going to sew some buttons this weekend and work on some sleeves. And rip out those socks. I'll take the snowshoes out for a spin before the snow melts next week. And the Green Mountain Fiber Festival is happening in WRJ. I might have to check it out and pick up a few things ;)


[knitting] Two striped cardigans

Working on two little striped cardigans:

Striping all the things... #knitting

The bodies of both are nearly done. Then it's on to sleeves and button bands.


[knitting] The Newbury

After seeing a very famous person in a knit cowl/hood combo, I asked for help identifying the pattern on Ravelry and someone (of course) found it: The Newbury. I was so happy to see it offered as a knitting pattern. I found the project page on Rav and ordered some yarn. It was a quick knit- I made most of it during one movie.

Newbury cowl

I knit the pattern as written, except for the part that used US 17 needles. I don't have any US 17 and I didn't feel obligated to go out and get some since that was the first time in all my years knitting that I've ever done a pattern that called for that size.


The wrapped-stitch pattern around the edges is a little "hole-y", so when I have the cowl up around my mouth, wind still shoots through the gaps in the stitches. I would make this pattern again but not use a lace pattern for the borders.


The yarn is GGH Husky from Love Knitting. This was the first time I ordered from them and I definitely would again. Here's what I got:

Love Knitting delivery

The yarn was in a large drawstring organza bag (TOTALLY reusable as a project bag- awesome!) and a little catalog booklet with free patterns. One of the free patterns is for a lavender sachet doll. I grow lavender and just started collecting/drying it last year- you can see all my little lavender sachets on the right. So I think little lavender sachet dolls for drawers might be my go-to gift for the holidays this year.

Plus, this yarn is ~$4 per ball. I used 4 balls making this cowl/hood, which bring the cost of materials to $16. Just talking about it makes me want to order more yarn and make a couple more of these. This project is near instant gratification.


[cooking] Pi Day Quiche

3/14 was an epic snowday. Figures we get the blizzard of the year in mid-March. Since I was working from home, I was able to make a savory quiche for Pi(e) Day:

Pi Day ham and onion quiche. #piday #snowday

I recently used a 40% off coupon at Michael's to get a tin of alphabet cookie cutters. I adore jojoromancer's instagram (#piegoals) and all the words she includes in her designs. 

A lot of good the stupid alphabet does me when I want to put 3.141592653589793238462643... around the outside. Argh! I never have the things I need when I need them! Why don't I have numeral cookie cutters?! I had to make do with a pi symbol and PI PI PI PI PI PI PI PI around the outside. 

After baking:

Pi day quiche. 🐖 #piday

Just a simple cheese, ham and onion quiche. I make an all-butter double crust from King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion cookbook. I roll half out and place it into the tart pan and refrigerate it. I layer the bottom with slices of Cabot sharp cheese. I get ham-ends from the Co-op (so cheap!) and chop it into chunks. Then thinly slice half of a small vidalia onion. I mix 4 medium eggs with 1 cup milk and pour over everything. Bake at 350 for 50 min.

The other half of the double-crust is still in the fridge. I think I'm going to make cute little blueberry tarts with that later in the week.


[misc] Murderface Monday

This is a busy time of year for me at my work, hence the silence all last week. Basically I leave the house before 6 am, get home after 6 pm. Then I just make supper and go to bed. And it didn't help that I had a cold all last week, so... it was not fun. I spent this past weekend relaxing and hanging out with Dollar and the cats. 

Murderface, finishing off a yawn after I woke him up for a picture:

Murderface, ending a yawn

Then I went to find Penny. Here she is... finishing off a yawn after I woke her up for a picture:

Penny, ending a yawn.

All right, fine. Maybe I'll leave these cats alone to nap in peace.

Actually, I had to move Penny:


So I could get that afghan back. I finally pulled out some yarn and figured out where I was in the pattern and added a new round. It's slow going but I'm ready to wrap it up. It's nice and dense and heavy- it's keeping me so warm while I work on it.

You know what I'm not working on? My Sock Madness socks:

First round Sock Madness. This is going sooooo slowwwww 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢 #sockmadness11 #sockmadness #twistedmadness

I was so excited to start this year's SM11 but I'm hating this pattern. It's very slow going and the stitch is completely tedious. I keep wanting to persevere. At this point, I'm to the ankle of one sock and halfway through the leg of the other... but I think I'm going to rip it all out. Which makes me feel like I've completely wasted about 20 hours of knitting time but I know I'll be happier. I'm really quite stressed out and anxious at work (which will ease in another month or so), I don't need to ALSO worry about a looming deadline for making a pair of socks that I hate. I have about 50 free socks patterns in my Ravelry queue that I know I DO want to make, so I'm just going to print off 5 of those patterns and have my own low-stress Sock Madness. In fact, I'll just call it Sock Sanity. 

I know this is the right decision because I've already abandoned these socks and went back to other, fun things that I actually want to knit and finish. I finished a baby sweater and started another:

Little Coffee Bean Cardigan.

I washed and blocked 4 little finished baby sweaters. I started digging through my button stash. Just have to sew buttons and then they'll be ready to be gifted to the niece.

Will prob be working from home tomorrow- winter isn't over yet. We've got 12 " - 18" of snow forecast! Looks like I'll be able to take the snowshoes and snowmobiles out for another spin this season.