Tumblers

I’ve finally finished my little tumbler quilt. I thought it would be a much quicker project than it turned out to be.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I’ve always loved the tumbler pattern and thought it would be a good quilt for a quick baby gift or something. Now that I’ve made one, I know I won’t make another one for a “casual aquaintance” gift unless the tumblers are larger.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Anyway, this was a fun project. This was a kit that I picked up at a quilt show several years ago and I’m happy that this little kit is no longer nagging me from the shelf it used to sit upon.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

The big pine trees in our backyard played the role of quilt holder this time.  It was a little windy when I took the pictures this morning, so I didn’t stay out in the cold for long.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Now to pick a new project. There are so many possibilities and I always have a hard time deciding. That’s how I eneded up doing this tumbler quilt — I have several long-term quilt ideas and I was avoiding making a decision!

XOXO,
Anna

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had an oddly sad experience today. I was reading this post about a crochet edged pillow. As I scrolled down the post, when my eyes first caught sight of the pillow, a flash raced through my mind. It was just a snippet of a pillow I made when I was young. I continued to read and then, Bam! Another flash!

It drove me crazy. What were these little flashes?  They seemed familiar and left me with a warm feeling, but I just couldn’t place them. I held my head in my hands with my eyes closed for a few minutes … thinking … thinking. It made me so sad that try, hard as I might, I just couldn’t get that memory back.

All I have to go on, is that edge of the pillow. It wasn’t crocheted, but rather, big loops sewn with yarn — I can clearly see them and I wish I could remember how to do the stitch. I think I made several of them and I’m pretty sure they were pillows made of washcloths (which sounds really awful!), but I still can’t “see” the front of the pillow. And judging by my reaction to the memory flashes, I think I loved making them. Maybe MyDadLovesMeBestSister remembers them? It’s funny, over the years, I’ve thought of lots of things I made when I was young, but I don’t remember ever thinking about those pillows. Isn’t it weird how just a glimpse of something, seemingly so innocent, can trigger a flashback? It’s sad that my memory board seems to have a short in it.

Ah well, onto something from the here and now. Last week, Jody posted this recipe for Creamy Sausage Stew and I decided to give it a try. It was delicious! After a few bites, TheManoftheHouse said “This is really good!”  And then, when almost finished, “I don’t remember having this before, but this is REALLY good!”  Clearly, his memory is better than mine!

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had big plans to make some artisan bread to go along with it, but I dropped the ball and didn’t get the dough prepped in time. Instead, I opted for a quickbread that we enjoy with hearty winter meals. Just in case you decide to try Jody’s great recipe (and you should!), I thought you might like some muffins to go along with it

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

1/2 cup (2 0z/60 g) rye flour
1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) whole-wheat (wholemeal) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) buttermilk
1/3 cup (2 oz/60 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (4 oz/125g) molasses
1 egg
1 cup (5 0z/155 g) raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter standard muffin tins.

In a medium bowl stir and toss together the rye flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, oil, molasses and egg until smooth. Add to the combined dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Stir in the raisins, if desired.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in the tins for a moment, then remove.

Makes about 12 standard muffins.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Now, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re all prepared for the next polar vortex. You know it’s coming — it’s only February! ;-D

XOXO,
Anna

Saturday Stuff

(…formerly known as Friday Five on Saturday LOL)

1. I’ve been on a little break — DidYaMissMe???? We took a quick little winter trip with some friends and TheFirstChild and SweetiePie to Park City, Utah. You know how I love the snow and we certainly weren’t disappointed — it. snowed. every. day.  I was in Heaven — it was Beautiful!!!

Thimbleanna: Park City

It was an almost perfect trip — I really need to learn how to ski. Headline: “Old Woman Learns How to Ski!”.

Thimbleanna: Park City

The girls pretty much summed up how I felt while we were there.

Thimbleanna: Park City

2. Since we were with friends I didn’t take any time to go to the usual places that I love. With one exception — I did a quick drive-by to The Wool Cabin to visit with Bonnie. Bonnie is such a sweetheart and we always have much-too-quick visits, but they’re fun. Bonnie has been knitting Little Cotton Rabbit’s fun bunnies and foxes with reckless abandon so I wanted to get a few tips from her and buy some yarn for some bunnies of my own. And look! Bonnie surprised me with a little lamb that she’d recently knit. Isn’t she adorable? I call her Lambie Pie and I LOVE her. Thanks Bonnie!!!

Thimbleanna: Lambie Pie

3. Speaking of lambs/sheep, I forgot to show you the adorable slippers that MyDadLovesMeBestSister gave me for Christmas. Aren’t they perfect? I wear them all the time!

Thimbleanna: Lambie Slippers

4. Speaking of footwear (how do you like these segues? haha) — while we were in Utah, SweetiePie and I found some wild shoes. The colors are so bold, we just couldn’t resist. You’ll be able to see us coming from a mile away!

Thimbleanna: Shoes

5. Now, back to reality. A dirty house and laundry. And the unfinished Tumbler quilt which is now to the quilting stage. Can’t say I’m enjoying zig-zagging my way down those tumblers, but it’s slowly getting done. Hopefully there will be a finish soon.

Thimbleanna:  Tumbler Quilt

And that’s it. Another few weeks blitzed by — it never fails to amaze me. Hope you’re having a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Books

Hidy Ho! Just checking in to see if you’re all surviving your various winter/summer weather. It’s such an odd year, isn’t it? We got a ton more snow yesterday, and I know you’re sick of hearing it, but I love it. . Pity the poor school kids (and their mothers LOL) though — they have some serious class time to make up this year.

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you might remember that I get an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas every year and then I hoard it until the middle of the winter and then treat myself to some fun new books. I try to mix it up and this year I think I got a good mix — baking, knitting, reading, and travel. (Ooooh, no quilting, darn it!)

Thimbleanna: Books

This year I bought:

Sarabeth’s Bakery by Sarabeth Levine.  Not really sure what drew me to this book, but I’ve had my eye on it for several years.  It looks like there are some great recipes in it.

The Model Bakery Cookbook by Karen Mitchell.  One day I saw that Dotty Cookie had made some English Muffins.  Later that day, I got an Amazon e-mail mentioning that people buy this book just for the English Muffin recipe.  English Muffins twice in one day, so I took it as a sign and this book jumped into my shopping cart.  I’m excited to try the recipe.

The Best of Lopi by Susan Mills.  I’m currently obsessed with Lopi yarn (getting ready to start a new Lopi sweater!) and this book had great reviews on Amazon.  I’m happy to say, it’s chock full of beautiful sweater patterns.  Most of them are the traditional Icelandic style, but there are several that have cables and are more “normal” sweaters.  I saw 4 or 5 sweaters that I’d love to make and that’s saying a lot!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.  Have any of you read this book?  Along with my Lopi obsession, I’m obsessed with Iceland — since our trip last May, I can’t stop thinking about this beautiful country.  I can’t remember where I saw this book mentioned, but it’s the story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, set in 1829.  I’m looking forward to reading it.

A Fine Romance by Susan Branch.  If you’re a fan of Susan Branch, you probably already have this book.  In the spring of 2012, Susan and her husband went to England for 7 weeks and this is the illustrated diary of her trip.  I would love to go and spend more than a few weeks at a time in the UK, so I’m hoping to pick up a few tips.  Plus, I think it’s probably just a good, fun read.

So, that should keep me busy for awhile, don’t you think?

Oh wait.  There’s more.  I had a little naughty purchase.

Thimbleanna: Books

I’m completely blaming Pam Kitty Morning. PKM showed this beautiful mug one morning on her blog and told us how to find it. So I searched and conveniently, it could be purchased with my Amazon gift card.   It’s the Royal Albert New Country Roses Union Jack mug and I selfishly bought the last one.  Hopefully they’ll get more in stock, ’cause I know you want one.  It’s going to be perfect for my winter reading!

Ok, I’m off — there’s reading to be done!  Have a good weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Friday Five — on Saturday

Thimbleanna: Winter

1. Boy, oh Boy, Old Man Winter is on a Bender this year isn’t he? And I. Love. It. We’ve had our snowiest January ever and, with the exception of the first few days of the month, there was snow on the ground all month. SO much better than our usual January pattern of snow, melt, mud, rain, mud, snow, ice, melt, mud, mud, mud, dreary, dreary, dreary. We’ve survived two arctic vortexes (vortexi, vortii, just what is the plural of vortex?), so that was fun too. It was -15F on the Tuesday morning drive to work and by Thursday morning it was 15F. What a difference 30 degrees makes — I almost felt like I could leave my coat at home!

Thimbleanna: Winter

And now, in blows February, determined to ruin my fun. It’s raining out there, as we speak. Boo. Hiss. February, my least favorite month. Someone, somewhere along the way tried to cheer it up with all that Luuuv holiday stuff, but it’s just not working. Thankfully, February knows it’s limits and is a short month. I know many of you don’t like winter, so take heart — the days are getting longer and there are more fun days behind us than in front of us.

Thimbleanna: Kilmory

2. Knit. Knit. Knit. That’s all I’ve wanted to do this winter. Look! I made some pockets. I spent the first three weeks of January knitting away on the front and back of a sweater (which was really a front and a half after I had to rip it out several times) and then I could see that I would run short of yarn for the sleeves, so I stopped knitting for a bit. More yarn just arrived this week, so now I’m working away on the sleeves. I like to knit my sleeves and socks two at a time so I can be sure they will match, but somehow I’ve managed to get an extra row of increases in one of the sleeves. I blame it on knitting and making dinner at the same time. Mistakes. Always, humbling, mistakes.

Thimbleanna: Tumbler Quilt

3.  Don’t worry quilters, there’s still a bit of sewing going on around here.  I’ve been working on the tumblers, but just like the knitting, there have been set-backs.  One day I spent a few hours on the floor laying all the tumblers out in rows.  When I was almost finished, I stood up, only to find another 70 tumblers still up on the counter, which totally messed up my layout.  It’s easy to get them out of order when I’m sewing them together too.  Maybe all these mistakes are because I’m so excited that we’ve finally had a real winter and I can’t concentrate on anything else.  Yeah, that’s it.

Thimbleanna: Gifts

4.I’ve had several very happy mail days this winter and I’ve been remiss in acknowledging them. Just the other day, I got a very unexpected little package from Anne. She included a sweet notebook, sheepie goodness in the form of one of her photo cards and an adorable bag with a ring to gather it closed, a piece of tartan, and a cute little scissors fob — all neatly wrapped up in the prettiest ribbon.  Her note said it was a Random Act of Kindness.  Isn’t that just the nicest thing?

Thimbleanna: Gifts

Right before we went to visit TheFirstChild and SweetiePie, a fun package arrived from Berglind.  The knitting book is fabulous — there are several patterns in it that I want to make.  My next sweater pattern is in this book and the yarn has already been ordered.  Berglind also included a pretty candle (which she wrapped with a picture that I took when we were in Iceland — what a fun surprise!)  And, some Toffypops!  There were a LOT more boxes of Toffypops but SweetiePie and I ate them — we LOVE Toffypops.  I’m hoarding that last little package for my Icelandic knitting.  (And, oh shoot, I’ve just realized that I forgot to include the neatest little ring that she included to help control my yarn when I’m doing two-color work.  I’ve already put it away in my knitting bag, but I’m looking forward to using it on my next sweater!)

Thimbleanna: Gifts

And last, but definitely not least was a wonderful package from Isabelle.  Isabelle and I share a love of the color blue and she sent me a beautiful blue scarf.  Isn’t it pretty?  And, she, like Anne, knows of my sheepie love (they’re so lucky to see sheep all the time in Scotland!) so she also included several sheepie accessories.

THANK YOU THANK YOU ladies — I feel so lucky to have met you all through this little blogging adventure — you’re all so sweet and thoughtful and in Wayne’s famous words “I’m not worthy!”

Thimbleanna: Yoga and Knitting

5. Leslie linked to an interesting article about the link between knitting and yoga.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but it’s an interesting read.  If you’re a knitter, you might want to try yoga.  And if you’re a yogi, you might want to try knitting.  (I’m talking to YOU SweetiePie and MyDadLovesMeBestSister!!!)

Have a good weekend!
XOXO,
Anna