At the beginning of this year I made a vow to not buy any yarn for at least the first six months of 2017. I just heard the collective gasp from all you knitters and crocheters out there...simmer down! Before you call the padded wagon for me I have a very good reason. I really want to finish all my UFO’s (for you non-fiber people that is Unfinished Objects) and also actually use the yarn I have bought, collected over time.
The thing is that I really like all my UFO’s and I want to finish them. So not only have I vowed to not buy yarn but also to only knit for myself (well with the exception of baby things for the two friends who just had to go and get pregnant – love you both) until I put a dent in these projects. I am sure that I will throw in a few new projects but I will only make them if I can ‘shop” from my own stash.
So starting this week with an effort to keep me motivated and honest I will be sharing my journey over the next few months.
I decided to start with this awesome Cabled Autumn Dress that I started in 2015 (hangs head in shame). My goal is to wear it in the spring...yes this spring! The pattern is from Knit Picks and I am using CotLin yarn from Knit Picks as well. I am almost finished with the first half of the skirt.
Of course I can't work on just one thing...come on now what kind of knitter/crocheter would I be. I always have at least one smaller, quicker, project going. For now it is this pair of crochet socks by Lakeside Loops that I absolutely adore. I am making mine in cotton yarn from my stash...see I am shopping from my stash. I only started them this week so I haven't gotten very far as yet.
Francine is also working on a pair so now that I have called her out maybe she will share hers when it is finished. I am determined to amass a nice selection of knitted items for me by year end. So I hope that you will stay on this journey with me and check back in a couple of weeks to see my progress on these projects and what’s next on the list.
This is my third year of being gluten free, trust me it is not by choice, because if you know me well I am sure that you have benefited from what used to be my almost weekly cupcake baking. Because of the fact that my body had decided that gluten = yuck, my baking had sadly declined. I mean I still baked for get together's, for friends who asked, and of course Christmas cookies but not being able to taste them myself took some of the joy out of it. Don't get me wrong I was able to find some gluten free recipes that I tried but trust me as much as a flourless chocolate cake is as yummy as it sounds there is just something missing. Oh right - Gluten!!!
Fast forward to last summer when I discovered Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. Hallelujah!!! I must say I was a bit skeptical at first but started experimenting with it and loved the results. I knew that it was the real deal when I made a cupcake, that I have made before but with regular flour, for a girls get together and until I told my friends they did not have the slightest idea that they were gluten free.
And now here we are. I will be documenting my adventures in gluten free baking using both gluten free recipes and traditional recipes that I make replacing regular flour with the 1:1 gluten free flour. First up this very easy gluten free mug cake.
Gluten Free Mug Cake
Original Recipe - Three Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Mug Cake
3 tbsp peanut butter(creamy)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp white granulated sugar
1 large egg
Combine all but the raisins or chocolate chips in a large mug or small microwaveable bowl. Whisk until smooth. Sprinkle raisins or chocolate chips on top and let sink in a bit. You may need to use your fingers to push them to just below the surface. Microwave on high for 1 min.
Enjoy with a cup of mint or ginger tea.
This is my go to when I want something sweet after dinner but still somewhat healthy.
Let me know if you try it and what tweaks you made to the recipe.
Welcome to Sister Reads! Francine and I are joining forces this year to talk about what is probably our very favorite thing, yes even more loved than crafting: books! Growing up books were everywhere over our home. Our mum is an English teacher, and so we had shelves filled with literature from around the world: Britain, the US, Africa, and of course the Caribbean. We were both avid readers as children, and that love followed us into adulthood. This year we will be posting a monthly book review on the last Friday of every month: a brief recap of the books we read during the month. We invite you to tell us about what you're reading in the comments below too!
As I mentioned above Francine and I love to read. However, I have found that since the introduction of social media into my life, that although still am an avid reader, the amount of time that I spend reading has dropped off significantly as compared to when I was growing up. I am determined to fix that this year and I know that blogging about my reading will not only motivate me but keep me honest.
To start the year of I am reviewing a heartrending classic and a modern tale of love, race, culture, and coming-home.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I belong to a book club called Literary Pairings at my local library. The premise of the book club is that every two months we “pair” a classic, or book of an historical nature, with a contemporary or lesser-known work that is related by setting, theme, and/or characters. Tess was this month’s selection.
The story is about a poor, young girl Tess Durbeyfield whose family looking for a better life drive her to claim kinship with the D'Urbervilles. She meets her supposed cousin Alec who changes her life in a drastic way and in a way that influences her future choices even when she meets Angel Clare a man who seems to be the complete opposite of Alec.
I have to admit that this is the first Hardy that I have read. Yes I know about him and his famous books but for whatever reason I have never had or taken the opportunity to read any of his books. I don’t know if it was the short, dark, cold days or the state of current affairs in the world that had an impact on my mood when I read this but I found it hard to get though as it was just so sad and depressing.
When I told my mom how sad I thought it was she said, “I love that novel. Hardy’s fatalistic theory: the two halves never come together. It’s always mismatched halves. Yes dismal outlook.” (English teach remember).
Next month I will review its paring Winter by Christopher Nicholson.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book has been on my To Be Read (TBR) shelf for some time now and I finally got around to reading it. I think sometimes that a book lets you know when it is the right time to read it. I absolutely loved reading Americanah.
The story is about Ifemelu and Obinze who are both Nigerian and meet in high school and fall in love. They both leave Nigeria as young adults and face challenges in the countries they come to call home, America and England respectively, until they both return to Nigeria and are reunited but not under the best of circumstances and face what I think is the most difficult decision of their life...to truly let love in.
As a recent naturalized US citizen originally from the Caribbean (Grenada to be exact) I could totally relate to the female leading character Ifemelu, especially during her time in America. “The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America.” This was one of the many passages from the book that really hit home with me especially with what is happening in the US right now.
This book is, I think, a must read for anyone who wants to get a basic understanding of the global perspective on race from a non-American black.
What have you been reading?
Now I am sure that you are curious to see what Francine read this month. See her post here.
With the holidays just around the corner (where did the year go) this month we decided to share some of our favorite craft books that wold make excellent gifts for the crafters in your life.
As my sister calls it, I am a multi-passionate crafter which in layman terms means that I have a variety of crafts in which I dabble. Below are just a few of the craft books that I love. These are some of the ones that made it through my big craft book purge last year. For as much as I do use Pinterest and the internet to find information I just could not let go of these books. Please note that book names link to Amazon for informational purposes only!
For the knitter in your life
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine - there are actually six of these Stitchionary books and I own four of them. I have used this one to find different stitch patterns for making dishcloths and socks but also it is a great for just practicing different stitches.
Huge & Huggable Mochimochi: 20 Supersized Patterns for Big Knitted Friends by Anna Hrachovec - I love her Mochimochi patterns and this book is perfect for making toys for those little ones in your life although I will admit that I want to make them all for myself.
Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters by Deborah Newton - I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Deborah Newton a few years ago and I am the proud owner of a signed copy of her book.
Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits by Wendy Johnson - my favorite sock making book. I only make toe up socks and I love the variations in this book.
For the sewing guru
The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing - 1100 Full-Color How-To Photos by Singer - I have had this book for very long time and I still refer to it. It has everything that you need. This edition seems to only be available used as I believe there is a newer revised edition.
Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee - Fun quirky patterns that use the art of applique. This is a fun book for that seamstress in your life who wants to break away from the ordinary. She also has a website by the same name.
Simple Bags Japanese Style: 20 Designs to Sew by Akiyo Kajiwara - Simple but beautiful bags. I made the Furoshiki bag as Christmas gifts one year and they were a big hit! I would say that I would not recommend this to a beginner as the instructions are not as detailed and you have to have some knowledge of cutting and sewing to figure some of it out. I really need to revisit this book and try some more of the patterns.
For the paper crafter
Creating Handmade Books and Unique Handmade Books by Alisa Golden - Wonderful books on how to make your own unique journals etc. The books have lots of great ideas for decorating and making them into works of art.
The Sketchbook Challenge by Sue Bleiweiss - This is based on the author's blog by the same name. Great ideas for when you just don't know what to do with that brand new, blank sketchbook. Here's a novel idea, why not make your own handmade book and then use the challenges to fill it.
And of course my list would not be complete without the oh so popular adult coloring books. This is just three of my favorites from my stash.
The Official Outlander Coloring Book by Diana Gabaldon - hey don't judge. It's the closest I will probably get to that kilt!
Splendid Cities: Color Your Way to Calm by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick - Real and imagined cities await you in this wonderful coloring book.
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford - I absolutely love this coloring book. Each image has hidden creatures and objects that you have to find.
Sharing and writing about these has really reinvigorated my creative spirit. I really need to pull these out more often and play.
Now let's see what wonderful favorites Francine came up with to share!