Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I had every intention of writing a real blog post today, I swear. Somehow, that just didn't work out.

I got home from work late and ate dinner. Then I had to go out and buy a light bulb for my hallway which has been out for a week or so, and get some gas in my car so I can get to work tomorrow. Then I started watching YouTube videos, like this one and this one. Then I checked my email, Ravelry, and Twitter. Then I drew a stickman.

(PS yes I know this post is full of links. That was intentional and they're all normal, you should be able to see the urls at the bottom when mousing over.)

Anyway, I got distracted, and now it's dark, and I don't have good lighting in my apartment, so writing a blog post with pictures like I originally intended is pretty much impossible. (I am also aware that the preceding sentence is pretty much ridiculous.) Plus, it's bedtime and I need to get some sleep.

I will post again later this week, but I can tell you for now that I am currently working on this pattern-, though I may have to interrupt that soon to make this one- for my mom.

Happy crafting! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas/holiday/long weekend <3

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday!

Finished my little knitted gift, and decided... I don't like it. Will have to try again, it doesn't take long and I do have Friday off so I might have time. Maybe. If I knit really fast! Otherwise, there's always next year. (Note to self- start EARLY this year. For real this time.)

I've also decided that the time has finally come to cast on for my "first knitted project." I knit this swatch what seems like forever ago, as soon as I was confident in my ability to knit and purl. It's not a gauge swatch or anything, more of a curiosity swatch. I wanted to find out if I could cable.

Those look like cables to me! A little off maybe, but nothing a little practice won't fix. It's getting more winter-y here and I need a scarf either way, I seem to have lost all of mine in the move. I have a lovely emerald green color to knit it with too, I would take a picture but the light is so bad in my apartment at night that I would never do it justice.

Wish me luck, and happy crafting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday- sort of

I have a new project! I do, I do! I don't think I should post about it now though, because I decided to knit a small holiday gift for someone who may or may not read this blog. (Why do I do this to myself?! December is not the time to start holiday presents!) More on that will be coming soon.

In the mean time, please enjoy these pictures of my lovely kittyfaces.

Smudge aka Mudge/Mudgie

Chirper aka Chirps

Aren't they cute? I might just be a sucker.

Or maybe you'd enjoy some easy baking inspiration? Cut your brownies into shapes!

Ninja brownies!
My next brownies, or cookies, or any shape-able baked goods are most definitely going to be cut into moose, squirrel, and whale shapes. My mother in law found the cookie cutters in Ikea awhile ago and sent them my way, woohoo!

Sorry this post is so short and scatterbrained, but real life got in the way. Apparently I'm convinced that today is Tuesday AND Thursday, but somehow definitely not Wednesday.

Good luck to all of you attempting to finish homemade holiday gifts!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins!

I love pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin butter... but my favorite by far is the humble pumpkin muffin. Specifically THESE pumpkin muffins. They are simple and delicious. They do not (usually) make a ginormous mess of my kitchen. They can easily be mixed by hand, and don't require too much attention.

The recipe I'm about to share with you is very accommodating. Don't want so much sugar? Leave some out. Want more pumpkin? Add it in. Accidentally added too much oil or pumpkin pie spice? That's ok! This recipe is so forgiving that you can bring it to a holiday party or a work potluck the first time you make it and get rave reviews. Just try it.

Cute muffin wrappers are a bonus

Muffin goodness!


1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1  tsp baking powder
1  cup (ish) canned solid-pack pumpkin*
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line or grease muffin cups.
2. Sift first 2 ingredients into a medium bowl.
3. Combine pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 ¼ cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.     Whisk until smooth.
4. Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture just until combined. Do not over mix! It may be a little lumpy.
5. Stir together cinnamon and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a separate bowl.
6. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling until approximately ¾ full. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar mixture.
7. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden brown. Tester inserted in center should come out clean- approximately 25-30 minutes for normal muffins, 10-15 minutes for mini muffins.
8. Cool in tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

*I started out using 1 cup of pumpkin, but now I have a better method (for me.) I take a 1 cup dry measuring cup and squish as much pumpkin puree in there as I can without spilling, and use that much. It adds more pumpkin-y flavor and I love it! Also, please note that you can freeze the extra pumpkin for later use. I do it all the time!

**If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, make your own! You can find a bunch of recipes using google, just pick the one that sounds best to you.

Husband's note- these taste sweeter and more pumpkin-y when completely cooled.

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday (a little late)

Ahhh! I'm late, I know I'm late. It's not midnight yet, so I'm not too late, am I? I hope not. 

Anyway, I'm finally done with the hat! Please excuse the poor little cell phone photos, we don't have much light in the apartment and my hand was shaking. Eventually I might even remember I have a camera, instead of reaching for my phone all the time...

Modeled by my awesome husband. He's such a good sport.

There was supposed to be a third picture for this post, of just the neckwarmer being worn without the hood, but it came out blurry. Oh well, that's life, right?

The hat/facemask/neckwarmer has been delivered to it's new owner. Hopefully it will keep him nice and warm this winter.

On another note, this week has been tough. Lots more working then expected. The job security is nice, but I've been pretty tired. Right now I'm sitting here, writing this, drinking some special (decaf) coffee, and trying to relax. But I can't. I have no current project and my fingers are itching. It seems like so much effort to pull everything out for the half an hour or so of pure knitting time I can muster up before bed lately, so I haven't. I'm on a little crafting hiatus, but hopefully I will be bringing you the start of something new by next Wednesday.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wip Wednesday - almost done!

I am finally, finally almost done with this hood thing. Do you ever feel that way? Not that the process isn't enjoyable, but there are always so many interesting new things just begging to be started. Anyway, the hood itself is done, It just needs to be sewn up. I've started on the cowl/facemask thing so it shouldn't be too much longer now.

I swear somehow I always forget how long single crochet takes to build up. Maybe I block it out. The stitches just seem so tiny and slow!

Hopefully by this weekend I will have this all done and put together, and I can go back to knitting and practicing cabling. Or even- gasp!- try to make a few gifts! I kind of procrastinated this year, not sure if it will happen or not, but there's no harm in trying.

Happy crafting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Yes, yes. I know this is late. But I  have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I don't think Thanksgiving is the only day I should be reflecting on that.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me, great friends, and relatively good health. I have a steady(ish) job, time to craft, and two lovely kitty faces to greet me when I come home each day. And I'm thankful for this nice weather! I actually went roller blading, in IA, on Thanksgiving. How cool is that?!

I hope you all had a great holiday filled with good food and better company. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday 2

Hello again! I've been putting in some long hours at my job, so I am definitely still working on this hood/facemask/neckwarmer thing. 

Stitch, stitch, stitch... it's going pretty quickly when I actually have a chance to work on it.

Look! The hood part is starting to look like a hood! That's good, right?

I need to make this a short post, have to be at work bright and early. Hope you all are doing well, and happy crafting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Woah, an actual craft post! Well, this is supposed to be a craft blog after all. I am currently working on a  hooded neck warmer/face mask for a friend of my husband's, pretty much like the one I made for him last year. Ravelry link to last year's project here. They work outdoors installing invisible fences and I want to keep their heads nice and toasty this winter.

I just started this a little bit ago, so I guess it's coming along fairly decently. Crochet is always so much faster for me, probably because I learned to crochet before I learned to knit. This looks so tiny though! Here's a better picture for scale-

Hopefully it won't take too much longer, I have so much I hope to get done this winter!

Happy Crafting :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds!

As promised, here is my no fail super easy yet delicious recipe for pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit

Take your pumpkin and cut off the top. Separate the seeds from the guts and place them in a large bowl. This is the time consuming part.

Wash the seeds thoroughly. Get as much of that orange stuff off as you can! You may want to periodically pour the seeds from the bowl to a strainer and back again, to aid in getting rid of the gunk.

Allow to dry slightly (I poured mine from the bowl into a mesh strainer, and let them sit for about 20 minutes.) It's okay if the seeds are still slick, it will help the seasoning stick.

Add salt or other seasoning to taste. I made two batches- a salty one and a spicy one. For the salty batch I just sprinkled the seeds fairly liberally with salt. For the spicy batch I added a couple of dashes of salt, garlic powder, black pepper, turmeric, chili powder and a touch of cayenne pepper into a small bowl, and sprinkled the seeds with the mixture.

Spread seeds on a greased cookie sheet in a single layer, trying to keep the overlapping to a minimum.

Take a deep breath, we're almost done!

Put the cookie sheet containing the pumpkin seeds into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Open the oven and stir the seeds around using a spoon, spatula, or anything melt proof. Be careful! Don't burn yourself!

Bake for another 10-15 minutes until seeds are crispy. You can kind of tell when they are done by the sound they make when they are stirred around, or you can be like me and taste one to find out! Be careful though, as the seeds will be very hot. It is probably best to let them cool off a bit first.


 Allow seeds to cool, then store in a zip top bag or resealable bowl. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On a quest for pumpkins!

Sunday was one of those long, almost perfect days. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? The kind of day where you can sleep in without the whole oh-no-I-wasted-the-entire-day guilt. (I'm sure the time change helped with that.) The type of morning when you and a loved one can wake up refreshed and cook a simple breakfast, then laze around until lunch. Maybe, you decide to go out and try a new restaurant for lunch. I did! Whether it's good or not doesn't matter, it's the experience that counts!

Anyway, after lunch, I decided I absolutely MUST make pumpkin seeds. Right that minute. I mean come on, It's after Halloween, pumpkins must be on sale, right? Wrong! My husband and I went to THREE different stores and couldn't find a pumpkin anywhere. Right before giving up, I remembered a pick-your-own-apple place not too far away, and thought that they might have pumpkins too. Not wanting to add another flop destination to the day, I called first. Lo and behold they still had pumpkins, it must have been fate!

On the way there, we saw some wild turkeys on someone's lawn. Wild turkeys! Recently having moved away from the hustle and bustle that is the suburbs of Chicago, this was super exciting. There are so many animals in Iowa, and it is not like we live in a very rural area either. Imagine my delight when we arrived at the pumpkin farm and saw this guy!

He's so cute! Right in the same pen there were two peacocks, I didn't get a great picture but you can kind of see the boy peacock here:

Around back they had some more critters, look at this cute little one eared goat!

And these curious guys!

I totally wanted to make yarn out of them

The little store connected to the farm was charming, I left with two pumpkins, a half gallon of apple cider, and a free apple. Woohoo!

I will show you my easy no fail "recipe" for pumpkin seeds later this week. It is super simple!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yarn storm for a cause!

I received a big huge box of yarn recently (not for me, but more on that later) and I'm so jealous! Look at this yarny goodness-

This last one is my favorite. It's so pretty and soft! 

This month there will be a benefit for two of my very good friends who unexpectedly lost their baby daughter earlier in the year. All of this yarn was graciously donated by the yarn storming group on Ravelry for the raffle that will be held. I'd like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I was yarn stormed myself earlier in the year (it was a very happy surprise!) and I will definitely be donating to the group very soon.

Happy crafting, and hug your loved ones today!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Number 2

So this is post number 2- a good time for introductions, right?

My name is Jen.

There. Done. No? Ok...

I started this blog as a way to share my knitting, crocheting, baking, and other projects with the world. I am hoping to find my voice along the way. It may be a little slow in the beginning, but once I really get this started updates should become more frequent.

So- HELLO OUT THERE! I hope you'll stay awhile and say hi!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An old bedtime rhyme, as told by me

Good night,
Sleep tight,
Don't let the bedbugs bite! 
And if they do,
Hit 'em with a shoe,
And don't count sheep...
Because they'll fall on you!