Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Threads - A Sweater for Clint

Okay, okay, so I know yarn isn't technically thread, but still, it's in the same theme of making things from fibers.  Plus, I like to knit - a lot - and no days of the week work cleverly with knit or yarn or needle or anything like that, so!  Thursday Threads will include (quite often, I imagine) knitting projects.

Back in December I was inspired to start knitting again and started a sweater for Clint.  He picked out the pattern (actually, asked me to combine two patterns and modify it beyond that, but I think I'll be able to pull it off), yarn, everything.  He wanted 100% wool, and we found some lovely dark brown virgin wool that is working beautifully.  For the fair isle pattern, he still wanted a natural colour, and since I already had some of the cream colored wool-acrylic blend, he decided it would be a good match.

The back is all done, up to the neck line.

The front is still a work in progress.

This was my first time working multiple colours on the same row, but I think I pulled it off alright!

One of the patterns I'm using.

Basically, this is the collar Clint wants, just with one or two more buttons to make it a bit longer, sort of like a turtle-neck.  Anyway, it's coming along nicely but slowly.  My plan is to get it finished in time for fall weather, so I've got a bit of time to get it done.  I do have incentive to finish it, though, because I only allow myself one project at a time (otherwise I would have a million unfinished projects hanging around the house), and I'm wanting to make myself some socks!  And a sweater, too, probably, but I think I'll take on a smaller project after this one . . .

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Asparagus Tossed with Crushed Sesame

After eating several variations of asparagus risotto for the past few weeks, I decided to try out a totally different way to eat asparagus, and thanks to Kurt and Crystal, I found a recipe that fit the bill.  This recipe is from a book called "Washoku" by Elizabeth Andoh, and let me tell you, it was delicious!  The sesame gave the asparagus and rice a lovely hint of nuttyness, and the "Japanese-ness" of the dish was just enough to taste good without being overwhelming for Clint (who's not as enamored with Japanese food as I am).  Anyway, enough talk - to the recipe!

12 oz asparagus
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (the recipe calls for black, but I only had white, and they worked just fine)
2 teaspoons mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons fish stock or water, if needed

Start a large pot of salty water to boil.
Snap off woody ends of asparagus spears and chop into 1" pieces, set aside tips.
Add asparagus pieces (except tips) to boiling water.  When water starts boiling again, add the tips and cook another minute or two.
Drain aspargus, but don't rinse with cold water, just allow to cool to room temperature (for soft asparagus) or fan until cool (for crisp asparagus).
Toast sesame seeds in 350 oven for about 5 to 10 minutes.  While seeds are still warm, crush using a mortar and pestle or in a food processor (for food processor, double ingredients for sauce).
When seeds get aromatic and slightly oily start adding mirin while mixing and crushing the seeds.  Then add soy sauce the same way.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a drop or two of water or fish stock.
Toss the asparagus in the sauce to coat.
Can be served as a side dish or on top of steamed rice for a meal.

Crushing the sesame seeds and adding the mirin and soy sauce.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Trellised Tomatoes

Saturday Clint and I decided it was high time we tamed our tomato patch. . . it was literally taking over the peppers!  We weren't sure what we were going to do, so Clint looked some stuff up online and found a method that seems to be working so far - trellises for tomatoes.

Most of our garden, with the tomatoes in the center back.
 Basically, the idea is, you put a fence post at each end of your tomato row and string wire between the two at various heights, creating a trellis.

All neat and tidy now.
 Mostly, we just wove the tomatoes to the north side of the trellis, knowing they'll be trying to head back south again soon enough, but some of the more stubborn ones we had to use twisty ties on.

Twisty ties are lifesavers

Overall, it really helped to bring some order to our tomato patch.  Thank goodness!  It was just getting a little wild.  I would definitely recommend to get it in place while the tomatoes are still little, though, so it's easier to train them, as they grow up.

In Other News. . . .

The cabbage is getting eaten mercilessly.
Go away slugs, cutworms and cabbage beetles!
The second planting of corn and beans is up.
(The first planting got eaten by the chickens)
We also bought some lavender on Saturday.  We got it to help attract bees to the
garden, but bonus!  It's pretty, smells good, and seems to help clear Clint's
allergy-induced stuffiness.  Yay for lavender!

This post was linked to the Homestead Barn Hop


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Threads - A New Purse

I have been wanting a new purse for quite some time now, but since I had been going to school, I didn't really want another bag to carry around.  So, I had been planning on making a purse first thing after I got out of school, and so I did!

I was inspired by this post from Ruffles and Stuff.  Of course, I made a few changes to make it work better for me.  First, I made the bag much smaller, a few inches all the way around.  It still turned out bigger than I had expected, but I find plenty of stuff to fill it up, of course.

I also wanted to have some pockets on the inside to keep my little things easy to find.  They're about 6" squre when all sewn into the bag.  I just sewed two rectangles together with bias tape I made and then sewed them into the purse after the lining but before the top trim.

I definitely needed a way to close it, too, so I just sewed up some bias tape I made from the main fabric to make little ties to tie it closed.  I am still wanting to make one long strap that will be detachable so that it can go across my shoulder for when I'm biking.  We'll see when that happens. . .

If you want to make your own, here are the templates I used (more or less).  I think if you click on them, they should open up at their original size, so you could use them as patterns, theoretically.

I used a light canvas from the home decor section to help give it a little more durability.  You'll need a 1/2 yard of 45" fabric for the main bag, 1/2 yard of lining (just cut out the main body of the bag in the lining), and 1/2 yard of 45" fabric for the trim.


This post has been linked up to Gluesticks "Get Your Brag On!" Link Party


Tip Junkie's "Tip Me Tuesday" Link Party

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


These past few weeks have been a marathon of graduation celebrations.  First, we started out with Clint's law school graduation back in May.  Since then, he's been studying like a mad man for the bar exam at the end of July.

He's the one in green, of course!

He came to Eugene for law school and found
a wife along the way!

Next, Katie had a couple graduation ceremonies from high school.

Katie (the tall blond one) and her friend
from elementary school

Finally, I got to graduate from architecture school yesterday!  This means I actually have time to do fun stuff now (which I'll be sharing in this blog).

I'm the short girl next to the tall boy
Is it just me, or does nobody look very
good in these things?
Three generations of U of O graduates.
Both Grandmas, Mom, and Me!
I couldn't have done it without you!
Well, I'm excited for the summer and whatever is coming up next in our lives.  I think I'll be posting some of what I am doing now as well as some of what I've been working on this last year at school, (and of course, fun stuff Clint and I do together) so hopefully this blog will have a nice mix of subjects, and I hope nothing will be too boring for anyone!