Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Wool Hats are DONE!

My Epic Project is finally finished. I successfully washed, teased, carded, spun, and knit the Suffolk wool and it is now in hat form, ready to wear. I didn't get a chance to document the carding, and I wanted to dye the wool, but you take what you can get sometimes.

I used a pattern for an earflap hat that I found from knitscene magazine online (the link opens up a PDF document). It was relatively simple, and they had a little glossary and illustrations for the harder terms.

They also had a little tutorial for making these adorable pompoms. I cheated a little bit and used some kool-aid dyed yarn that I bought in Arizona two summers ago for the pompoms. They actually smell kind of sweet.

I also fiddled with the pattern a bit and made a chord at the end of each earflap and put the pompoms at the end of the chords. This way you can tie the hat under your chin.

I'm pretty happy with the results, all in all. I do think they look a little bit like old football helmets. But my sister (who is modeling above) claims that all the stores are trying to make their knitwear look knobbly and handmade now, so I guess I'm right in step.

1 large bag of raw Suffolk wool, probably one fleece's worth = enough wool to make four knobbly earflap hats

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Every year my family has a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. It's spelled Wigilia, and pronounced "Vee GEEL ya." My maternal grandmother was Polish, so 15 of my relatives from that side of the family came over to my parents house in NJ this past Sunday to eat the meal (there were 20 of us total, whew).

The dinner consists of an almost entirely white meal: flounder, pickled and creamed herring, tapioca, egg noodles, rice pudding, pierogies, dried fruit, and beet soup (borscht). The borscht and dried fruit are the only splashes of color in the whole meal.

After my grandmother died, we started eating frozen pierogies. But for the third year in a row now, my mother and I have made our own pierogies, adjusting and perfecting the recipe as we went. This year I fermented my own sauerkraut for the filling and they were delicious.

I also used the secret weapon that my friend Nicole gave me, the ravioli press. It was so easy, and the finished product was so mangled from the boiling and frying that you couldn't really tell that they were ravioli-shaped anyway.

I also made the borscht from scratch this year, and again, it was amazing. My friend Sarah gave me her Moosewood recipe, which I can pass on to anyone interested. Just look at that color.

In fact, I'm going to go and have a bowl of leftover borscht right now. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Berkeley Digs

My friends CatDib and Rich had a holiday party at their new place in Berkeley, CA a week or so ago and I'm in love. In love with their house. You will be too, just check it out.

So much light!

Gorgeous pale green paint in the kitchen, very retro.

Built-in cabinetry.

Very cool way to display your little knick-knacks.

Ag, I want!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

REWIND: Thanksgiving in San Diego

My lovely friend Casey and her great family hosted me in SD for Thanksgiving. We had a huge delicious meal and drank an incredible amount of tea. Casey and I are enablers of each other when it comes to drinking tea, it's an addiction.

We also visited the San Diego Zoo . . .

. . . and gorgeous Balboa Park (where there's a small conservatory).

Here's how they decorate for Christmas in San Diego.

P.S. - Casey just graduated from UCD and has started an Etsy shop where she sells her adorable batiks under the brand name MoonSprout.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas in New Joisey

Yaaaaaaaay! I got to NJ yesterday and today has been a glorious day of sleeping, eating, and Christmas-ing.

And there's snow! I've just been walking around the house drinking in all of the Christmas.

My family and I went to get the tree today; I wish I could send the smell of it across the blogosphere (I know I'm not the first to wish this).

The lights and smells and snow and cold are all warming my heart.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Veggies

We're still getting our weekly CSA box here on F Street, but we have to pick it up at night and I never have time for a photo of the contents before it gets sorted into the fridge. Hopefully things like that will resume when my regular posting resumes. Though it doesn't look good, looking at my schedule for next quarter. Gah!

Instead, here are some healthy (and some not-so-much) veggies from my containers.

Pak choi, Chinese Cabbage, and regular cabbage:

Happy lettuce, though not very large:

And unhappy Swiss chard with a happy little cabbage in the middle:

I had to move them all from their picturesque spots near the fence in order to give them more sun. But the Swiss chard still looks like this (can you even find it in there?). I'm not worrying about it though, because my cauliflower just began to head and you win some, you lose some. Yay for container-grown veggies!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December in Davis

That's actually mistletoe growing in that tree (the green parts that look like leaves). It's a parasitic plant.

And . . . .


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Someone Stole My Bike

I know, can you believe it? Someone stole the bike that I was fixing up at the bike church. It's partially my fault for being a trusting person. I should have made sure it wouldn't happen by bringing my own lock, but I trusted that the spirit of the bike church would make it immune to selfishness. I was wrong. I had my name and the date on it, so there's no mistake. It was stolen. At least I still have good old Bonanza Jellybean, though she's taken to falling over on me and giving me black-and-blues recently. Sigh. I'm gonna go cry now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Crunch Time, People

I'm sorry, but the next three weeks are going to be mostly blog-free. It's finals. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post some pics from my fabulous trip to San Diego. But I'll catch you all up over the winter break when I'm home with the fam, cooking borscht and making peirogies for our Polish Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Squash THIS

It's almost Turkey Time! I'm driving down to San Diego with a friend tomorrow afternoon (an 8 hour trip, at least). The vacation is much needed. I'm not sure if you could tell by the drop-off in posting, but my time is really running low right now. So, I will leave you with a pretty picture of a squash leaf infected with a mosaic virus. You know, to put you in the mood for pumpkin pie.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Duck, Duck, Duck . . . CRANE!

Last Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to go see the sandhill cranes at Cosumnes River Preserve with a bunch of friends and bird watchers.

consulting the guide books

The area of the preserve that we visited is rented to farmers for corn in the summer, then flooded for the birds in the winter.

Jill works at the preserve, so we had access to most of it. But it wasn't hard to find the cranes, they make really loud noises, and they have a bright red mark on their head. We got to see some of them dancing, which was really cool.

Birds are cool, but there are just so many I can look at before I lose interest. But there were some hard-core birders there with their fancy binoculars and guide books, and it was good bird- and people-watching.

The cranes are stopping at the preserve on their migration, and there were "a million billion" of them there (to quote Jill). There were also many many many other types of birds there, and I asked one of the birders present to tell me what I was seeing at one point. He pointed at several birds, had me squint my eyes to follow his finger, and said "duck . . . duck . . . goose." I'm still laughing.