Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gluten Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies in Sunny California

Greetings! I hope that you had a blessed Christmas holiday season.  We didn't have a white Christmas here in sunny, warm, California but I can't complain.  We have been having a bit of a heat wave for this time of year.  I hope everyone had a safe journey reaching their holiday destinations.

We enjoyed having the family over for the holidays.  My daughter and her family enjoyed yesterday at Laguna Beach having a bonfire.


My little grandson absolutely loves going to the beach.  Here he is yesterday having fun in the sand.


Christmas day we decided to sit outside on the patio.  It was so sunny that my daughter had to put on sunscreen!


 All in all, it was a wonderful holiday celebration.  Here's a little craft item that I made from my Planet Penny Cotton:


They are hair clips.  I just crocheted the flowers free style and added some beads for embellishment.  I gave them to my friends who have small children.

I love to make cookies and this year I came upon a recipe for chewy chocolate meringue cookies.  After reading the reviews for it and studying the recipe, I came up with my own version which is slightly different.  I made them for my family and they loved them.  (I didn't taste them since I don't eat chocolate!)



Here's the recipe. I believe it's gluten free for those who cannot have gluten:

GLUTEN FREE CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES
3 extra large egg whites* (if you use small or medium eggs, then use 4 egg whites) 
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
dash salt
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla or vanilla powder
1/2 bag ( 1 cup or more) mini chocolate chips

Parchment paper
*Have egg whites at room temperature for better results

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites at medium high speed until frothy.  You do not want stiff egg whites but they should make soft peaks.  Beat in salt and vanilla.  With mixer running at lowest speed, blend in powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips by hand.  You should end up with a batter that keeps its shape.

Put parchment paper on baking sheets and lightly butter or grease parchment paper.  Place rounded "teaspoons" full of dough on baking sheet, about 2" apart.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes.  You will see that cookies are "puffed" up and slightly "cracked".

Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cool on parchment paper before removing to cooling rack.

 Here's a sideways picture of how the baked cookies should appear.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Have a Happy New Year and I hope to be back next year with lots more fun ideas to share with you.

Happy New Year from
Pat & Lilly, too!

P.S.  I almost forgot, please stop by Handmade Harbour to see some wonderful craft ideas!








Friday, December 20, 2013

Wrapping up for Christmas

The blessed Nativity of our Lord will soon be here.  It's always a wonderful time of year that I always look forward to.  I love decorating the tree, baking Christmas cookies,  wrapping the gifts and attending the magical Christmas service at church. 

This will be my 5th Christmas here in sunny California.  Since that time, I have grown quite fond of my new memories here.  Every year there's a radio station that starts playing Christmas songs 24/7 along with the audio channels on the TV.  And, there are so many old Christmas movies that you can watch on TV.  There are a couple of neighborhoods in our area that really put on a wonderful Christmas lighting event.  The only thing I miss (a little bit) is a white Christmas.  I would like to have snow for two days and then have it disappear and be warm and green again.  But, of course, that won't happen.

The Presents are Wrapped:
Lilly really enjoyed herself yesterday:

 
The Cookies are Ready!
Last year I posted a recipe for Egyptian Petit Four Cookies.  I thought I would update the picture and give you a traditional way of putting them together.  In the previous post, I had put them together with white chocolate.  Here's a photo of them with apricot jam and coconut.  This is how they would traditionally be:

I also made my Grandma's Danish kleiner.  It's a yearly tradition that I make these for my children so here's a picture of them:

Almost every culture has a fried dough and the Danes are no exception.  These cookies are fried in shortening.  Here's how they look when they are done:

We didn't attend my husband's company party this year.  It was held in Washington state but we did get to attend a couple of local parties.  Here's a picture of my husband with Vicki, one of the Housewives of Orange County.  She hosts an annual Christmas party for her clients and she is a wonderful, smart and very nice person.  I don't watch her show but she runs her own business and is a real professional:

That about wraps it up for this blog post.  My little grandson has been with us these past two days since my daughter has the flu.  I do hope she will recover for the Christmas holiday.  We are so fortunate to be close to family in times of need.

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year.  I am so thankful to have met such dear people through this blog.  Please don't be shy to comment and say "hello".  And be sure to stop by Handmade Monday

Merry Christmas,
Pat & Lilly, too!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Egyptian Christmas Cookies

 Can you believe that it will be Christmas in less than two week?  Wow, time goes by so fast now!

Last year at this time I posted a recipe for Egyptian petit four cookies that seemed to be a popular post.  So, I thought I would share with you another Egyptian recipe for holiday cookies.  They are called "Sablee", after the French short pastry dough.  I got this recipe from my dear Egyptian friend, Vivian. Here's a copy of the original recipe that's over 37 years old!
 
 I know you can't read this faded recipe so here's a picture of the ingredients that you will need:
This year I bought the Crisco shortening in the sticks since it's premeasured.  So, it takes one stick of this shortening:
Here's the recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1 cup shortening
1 T water or less
apricot jam for filling

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl:
 
Add in the shortening:


Mix the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal:
Add a "little" bit of water - 1 T or less and mix dough just until it holds together:
 Don't mix the dough too much and please don't knead the dough as you want it to be light and fluffy:
This is how the dough will look after it comes together.  Now for the fun part.  Sprinkle your counter with flour and roll out dough until it's about 1/8" in thickness.  Cut with a cookie cutter and place cut out cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
You will need to make half of the cookies with a cut out in the center of them.  Keep track or how many cookies you need for the bottom and the top. I use a drinking straw to make the center cut out!
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Remove from oven and let cool before putting them together with apricot jam.  Just before serving, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
P.S.  This recipe calls for vanilla powder.  I bought some this year at the church bazaar:

 But if you don't have vanilla powder, just blend in some regular vanilla extract.  The vanilla powder gives a lovely scent to the cookies.

Coptic Christians enjoy these cookies for the Christmas and Easter holidays along with petit fours, and bescoot, ghoribeh, and kaak (sorry for the spelling of these last three; they are basically an egg based cookie that is baked in a long shape, a rich butter based cookie and a mahlab flavored buter cookie rolled in powdered sugar). 

I hope you will try this easy recipe.  My local Persian grocery store has them in their bakery case and they call them "French cookies".  They are fun to make and look nice on the cookie plate.

Happy baking and until next time, I wish each of you a holiday, fun filled week!

Happy baking,
Pat

P.S.  I almost forgot, please take a minute and visit Handmade Harbour and check out some great craft ideas!



















Friday, December 6, 2013

Knit Zigzag Afghan and Chilly Nights

Hello my dear friends.  Finally, here is a post about my passion; knitting.  For those of you who visited last week, you will remember that there was a memorial about my dear mother-in-law who passed away on Thanksgiving day.  We wanted to remember her and let extended family here in the US and Egypt know about her legacy.  I felt the best venue to do this was my blog.  So, thank you for your patience since I know it was an unusual place to publish this memorial.

We are having a cold spell down here in Southern California.  I'm not going to complain since we don't have snow or ice but the thermometer has dipped into the 40's and it's suppose to be even colder the next couple of nights.  I look back now at all the years I spent shoveling snow, scraping ice and getting bundled up to go outside.  My children and I grew up in this kind of weather and I didn't know any different.  That was until I moved to western Washington where we had rain and now to California where we have sun almost year round.  I still laugh when I see my  neighbors decked out in Ugg boots and down jackets.  It's still not that cold around here!!

Drum Roll.............Here is my finished afghan that I have been working on (and off) since July!  I finally finished it last night since it's a Christmas gift for my daughter and her husband.  I ordered the yarn from LoveKnitting.com.  It an Aran weight yarn with 25% wool.  The wool really gives this yarn a wonderful drape and feel and yet it's still machine washable.



Here is a link to the  pattern.   It's called Knit Zigzag Ease Throw and it's by Coats and Clark.

 WT1078 Knit Zigzag Ease
(Sorry for the poor photo).  As you can see, the pattern calls for three different colored yarns.  I used one color throughout my afghan and I think it shows off the pattern much better.


On a side note, I absolutely love LoveKnitting.com.  They have a great selection of yarns and if you sign up for their e-mails, you will receive notice of sales that many times include free shipping.  Another favorite online yarn shop of mine is Paradise Fibers.  They are located in Spokane, Washington and last year I had the opportunity to visit this shop.  They offer great online specials; one special was a $60.00 skein of yarn with a special price of $15.00!  They too offer free shipping now and then. You just need to check their website.


Back in the day when I started to crochet and knit, I would buy my yarn at the local dime store (do kids today even know that that is?).  There was no Michaels of Joanns back then.  Then, one day I had a pattern that called for a special type of yarn.  My son told me to go online and check it out.  I placed my first online order  and I received this beautiful, spun wool from a family owned farm in New England.  I still have some of this wool.

Since then (13 years +), I find patterns that call for special yarns and I go online (to my favorite yarn shops) and shop for the yarn.  There are great bargains to be had online since many times they have discounted the yarn since it was last seasons colors, etc.  As you know, once you knit with nice yarn you don't want to knit with your Grandma's Red Heart.  Please don't take my wrong, I love the Red Heart afghans my dear Grandmother made for me.  But part of the fun for me is finding the pattern, finding the yarn at a great bargain and making the item.

So, my knitting basket is literally empty now.  I am going to tweek a pattern I have for a knitted scarf.  I plan to add some beads to the pattern and see how it comes out.  I will let you know.

In the meantime, I hope each of you have a wonderful week.  Keep warm, be safe and remember to stop by Handmade Monday to see some wonderful crafts.  And, please don't be shy to comment on this post.  I would love to hear from you.

blessings,
Pat

P.S.  Do you like the new look of my blog?  My daughter Heidi created it for me and the picture of the Eiffel Tower was taken by Heidi during our night time walk back to our hotel!










Friday, November 29, 2013

In Memory of Wahiba Aziz Abd el Noor

Our dear beloved family matriarch recently departed this life on November 28, 2013 and this is a post dedicated to her memory.  Wahiba Aziz Abd el Noor was born on June 1, 1922 in the City of Girga, in the Sohag province, in Egypt.

Wahiba was the only child of Aziz Abd el Noor and Bellsum Marcos Yacob.  Her grandparents on her father's side were Abd el Noor and Nozha and on her mother's side were Marcos and Zafpharon.  She grew up in Girga and her father, Aziz worked in the family business as a tailor.  Aziz passed away when Wahiba was very young.

Wahiba married Mobarak Shaker Awad and they started their life together in Girga.  Wahiba was a very smart women who had a creative, business mind.  When Mobarak thought about starting his own real estate brokerage and title company in 1938, Wahiba encouraged and supported this idea and even sold her wedding ring and wedding gold to help in this new adventure.  With the funds she raised, she bought staples for the family for an entire year to ensure that her family would be provided for in case of hard times.   Mobarak was extremely successful in this business up until the day he passed away in October 1991.

Besides being the wife of Mobarak, Wahiba was the driving force behind his business.  She was his partner in the building of a large apartment building in Girga.  The building was designed in that there was an apartment for each of her sons.  This was Wahiba's home up until three years ago when she moved to Giza, Egypt because of health reasons.

Wahiba and Mobarak were parents to eight sons; Zakaria, Fouad, Wahib, Youssef, Mahfouz, Sabry, Nasser and Assam.  Through Wahiba's determination, she saw all eight sons graduate from college with careers ranging from doctors to engineers.  Fouad was the first son to immigrate to America and later five more of Wahiba's sons immigrated to America.  She was fortunate to make the trip to America three times to see her sons and their wives, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Wahiba's first love was her Lord and her faithfulness to her beloved Coptic Church.  She was truly a saintly woman in that she always thought of others before she thought of herself.  She received great pleasure in helping others and providing necessities for them.  Many times she provided money to less fortunate young women to buy their wedding necessities.  Her family was her crowning glory and she raised eight healthy sons.  In the late 1940's  she heard about an outbreak of diptheria. Two different neighbors had lost a total of five children in one day to this deadly disease.  Wahiba gathered her three sons at that time and took them in a hontour (horse drawn carriage) to the vaccination clinic and insisted that her sons be vaccinated against this disease.  Her sons were among the very first to be vaccinated  in the city of Girga.

Nothing gave Wahiba more pleasure than seeing her grandchildren being baptised in the same church as her children were baptised in.  One son from America had his children baptised in Girga, Egypt and later made the trip again as recently as 2010 with his grandson (Wahiba's great grandson)  for baptism.  Seeing this gave Wahiba great pleasure.

After Mobarak passed away, Wahiba spent her time worshipping in the Coptic churches of Girga.  She was a very spiritual woman and many would seek her out for her help in praying for them.  Once when she was visiting St. Sergius Church in Old Cairo (the same church where the holy family fled with Jesus when they were in Egypt) she told the people at the church all about being down in the crypt and how she was healed.  This had taken place years ago as now visitors cannot go down into the crypt.  She had an audience around her listening to her story.  She shone with the Light of Christ.

Wahiba was a petite little woman with a big heart.  She had given birth to eight sons and when asked by her oldest sons why she keeps on having children even at age 46, she always answered that she was "looking to give birth to a daughter"!   After the birth of her 8th and final son, she realized that she would not have a daughter.  However, she was blessed to have eight daughter-in-laws who loved her dearly.

The last three years of Wahiba's life were spent in a nursing home on Pyramid Street in Giza, Egypt.  The family wanted to keep Wahiba close to them but due to the nature of Wahiba's illness, dementia, she demanded around the clock care.   Her son, Mahfouz and his wife Magda saw her regularly during this time along with her son Youssef and his wife Mary.  Dr. Magda, her daughter-in-law,  provided for Wahiba's medical needs during this time.

Wahiba passed away in the afternoon of November 28, 2013.  Her body was transported by private hearse to her hometown of Girga where there was a viewing at her home.  Her funeral service was held on November 29, 2013 at The Angel Coptic Church in Girga.  She was laid to rest in the new Coptic Cemetery in Girga.  There was a reception in her honor at the church parish hall and over 600 people attended to pay their last respects to this amazing woman.

We will truly miss Wahiba as she holds a dear place in our hearts.  She leaves behind, eight sons and their wives, 19 grand children and 11 great grand children.  May her Memory be Eternal.








Sunday, November 24, 2013

Visiting Bruges Belgium

I can't believe how fast the time has gone by.  Thanksgiving will be this coming week and then Christmas next month.  I always feel I will get behind my duties if I don't get things done in a timely manner.  Well, this year it must have already effected me since I already have my artificial Christmas up and decorated in the foyer and it's not even Christmas yet!

Enough said about that - as you may know I was away on vacation last month.  I had the great opportunity to visit Bruges Belgium.  It is a lovely city.


I was on a cruise ship that actually docked in Zeebrugge for the day.  Zeebrugge is an industrial port and not scenic whatsoever. Our options were to book a tour via the ship, buy a shuttle ticket for like 14 Euros each to take us to the city of Blankenberg where we would have to take a train to get to Bruges or get a private taxi.

Well, my daughter and I are always budget minded when it comes to traveling but since there was three of us (my little grandson included), we opted for the taxi and we were so happy that we did.  The one way trip into the city of Bruges was 50 Euros.  It's about a 20 to 30 minute ride depending upon the traffic.  The taxi driver was so nice that when he dropped us off at the town center, he booked a time to pick us up at the same place.

Bruges has to be one of my favorite cities.  It's not that large but it is very picturesque.  We took a canal boat ride that was very enjoyable.


 We had arrived prior to lunch time and after walking around the city we were getting hungry.  We found a lovely old hotel/restaurant that was featuring a fixed price lunch for 19.50 Euros.  It was beautiful inside.


It felt like we were dining "inside" a Belgium tapestry.  It turns out that the building was originally a tanner's home from the 1600's.  The interior of the restaurant had been designed and decorated by designers from the local art institute back in the 1960's.

The food and service were excellent.  We had a choice of soup or wild boar pate for our first course.  I chose the wild boar pate and I wasn't disappointed.


Bruges has something for everyone.  There are lots of beautiful lace shops (where I bought some hand made bobbin lace), delicious chocolate shops, souvenir shops and also many shops featuring clothes and shoes.  We even popped into a grocery store and bought some speculoos spread to bring home.



 After our day in Bruges we walked back to the town square where our taxi arrived promptly on time.  The return trip back to our ship cost 50 Euros but we still felt we had gotten a great bargain since we were able to spend the whole day in Bruges at our leisure.

If you ever get the change to visit this lovely city, I highly recommend that you visit.  During the winter season they have beautiful decorations and wonderful Christmas markets.

Lilly and I want to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving (Lilly can hardly wait to eat some turkey) and thank you for taking time to visit Lilly My Cat.

Blessings to each of you,
Pat & Lilly, too!

P.S.  Please remember to hop over to Handmade Harbour and check out some great creative ideas made by very talented people!



Friday, November 15, 2013

Renting a Car in Paris

Hello everyone! Here is my first post since I have returned from my vacation.  It seems like it was so long ago since I last wrote.  As you may recall, my daughter took me on a three week trip to England and France to celebrate my birthday.  I returned this past Monday and thought I should update my long overdue blog post.

I won't bore you with all the specifics of our trip but today I will share with you our experience of renting a car in Paris.  My daughter had made a reservation for us to pick up a car at the Gare Du Nord in Paris and drive to the Loire Valley in France.  I was hesitant about "driving" in Paris after reading about it online.  Well, it worked out fine.

Here's what happened:  We had a great map of Paris from our hotel in the city.  We took a taxi from our hotel to the train station where we found the car rental agency in the basement of the train station. We rented from Enterprise and they were most helpful to us.  We also rented a child car seat and GPS system.  My daughter bargained on the price of the car and accessories and got a great deal! (We rented a Toyota hybrid which saved us a lot of money on gas!)

The rental cars are in the basement parking garage of the train station.  We took an elevator to the car and loaded it with our luggage.  We drove out of the parking garage onto the streets of Paris.  We had the GPS going at this point and were able to get onto the peripheral road and then onto the highway heading towards Versailles.

We had taken a couple of taxi rides in the city before we rented so we had an idea of how the people drive like jamming the intersections and not staying in their designated lane.  We are from Southern California where we have multi lane freeways so we were not so worried about traffic.  My daughter was the driver and I was the navigator and we did just fine.  We were able to negotiate out of the city and get on the main highway.

Here's a Photo of our Little Rental Car

 The road system in France is well marked and the roads are well taken care of.  It was lovely driving through the countryside and seeing the villages.  We ended up at a small "gite" west of the village of Garron.  We stayed there three nights and really enjoyed our time.

Beautiful Village Scenery in France


We drove back to Paris on a Sunday.  We left early in the morning to allow time for traffic and finding our way back to the train station.  Again, we had the GPS set to our location and we were doing fine until it told us to exit the highway and we ended up at Victor Hugo Square in Paris headed towards the Arc de Triomphe!

We had visited the Arc de Triomphe earlier in the week and we knew this was a HUGE roundabout with cars going every which way.  Again my daughter was driving and I had the Paris map in my lap trying to figure out our location.  Luckily, we were able to venture back onto the peripheral road and take the exit Porte de la Chappelle which was a straight shot back to the train station.

Again, the intersections were jammed with cars but my daughter ventured on and was even able to pull into a gas station on Rue de la Chappelle and gas up the car before returning it.  Someone had written on a website that the return of the rental car is a different location that the pick up.  This is not so if you are renting from Gare du Nord.  We returned the car to the same parking garage which is located at 112 Rue de Maubeuge to the Vinci Parking and you continue down to floor 6 of the garage where you park the car in the designated "Enterprise" parking spot and then go upstairs to return the keys, etc.


Lovely French Flowers

Again, the people who helped at the car agency were so accommodating to us (and we don't speak French).  Overall is was a good experience and we would probably rent again.  Maybe it wouldn't be a good idea of you are not used to driving in traffic or can't read maps because the GPS was really useless in the city of Paris itself.

After returning the car we went back up to the main floor of the train station where we checked into the Eurostar to take the train back to London.  I absolutely love the Eurostar - it is so easy and convenient compared to flying.  It really was a fun expereince.  Upon arriving in London, our hotel was just across the street from St. Pancras station where the Eurostar is located so we walked to our hotel in about 5 minutes.

When we were going through passport control in Paris there was a gentleman who was getting his picture taken with the police and guards.  My daughter asked who he was and I thought he may have been a famous boxer.  Well, I was wrong.  There came another guy dressed the same and they again had their picture taken with him.  Finally, we asked a girl in line with us and she proceeded to tell us they were the All Blacks rugby team from New Zealand.  This girl in fact had come from New Zealand to watch them play.  I guess it was quite exciting for them to meet this team in person.  As an American, we are not familiar with rugby so the excitement was lost on us.

I hope each of you are doing well.  I missed hearing from you and hope to hearing from you when you have the time.

take care,
Pat (Lilly's Mom)




Sunday, October 20, 2013

Moebius Scarf Experiment

Sorry I didn't write last week.  Lots has been going on here and time got away from me.  I'm sure the same thing happens to you!

Anyway, this week I wanted to share with you my experiment in knitting a moebius scarf.  I found the pattern here.  I first saw this scarf by Cat Bordhi a couple of years ago when my sister-in-law was knitting one.  I knew she had to buy extra long cable needles and that it took a special cast-on.

These are the needles that I ordered from Loveknitting.com.  They are circular needles, size 10 (6.0MM) and 100cm (40") in length.  I found that the 40" length was by far plenty long and if I would have ordered longer cable needles I think it would have been too hard to work with.

There are lots of patterns out there that are called moebius but a true moebius has only 1/2 turn.  The trick to this pattern is found in the special cast on created by Cat Bordhi.  Here is the link to Cat's video of the special cast on.

 
Here's a picture of how the scarf looks on the needles after doing a few rows.  The circular needles are in a "circle" and they stay that way throughout the whole time you are knitting the scarf.  You do need to place a "special" marker for the beginning of the round.  A round means you will knit the stitches on both the "circles" of the needle.

(Please excuse my homemade yarn markers - I used these markers for the actual pattern of the scarf).


So, in this photo I have tried to show the "1/2 twist" of the scarf.  It's really magic how this scarf comes together as you are knitting it.


If you can imagine a round collar and that collar has two layers - this is how this scarf comes out.  You knit from the "inside out" from where the stitches are on the needle.  One side will be "knit" and the opposite side will be "purl" as can be seen from this photo.  You can see the knit stitches on the gold needles at the top of the photo and the purl stitches on the red cable at the bottom on the photo.



Here's a better close up of the scarf.  If you look exactly in the middle of the scarf, this is where I started knitting.  From there, the stitches are purl on one side and knit on the other side.



Here's another view.  So, when this scarf is completed, the "purl" side will lie on top of the "knit" side.  It makes it look like a double collar but it will have a one-half twist in it (you can see the twist on the right hand side).

Add caption
 Here's a close up of the "double collar" effect of the scarf:


I didn't spend much money on this project other than purchasing the needles (under $10.00) and this was aran weight yarn that I had leftover.  I really had fun doing this scarf and teaching myself the cast on.  Believe me, if I can do it you can do it.

On a side note, I did cast on too many stitches and my scarf came out a little longer.  So, pay special attention to Cat's instructions on how to count the stitches.

Lilly My Cat will be away for a few weeks so this will be the last post until late November.  Please visit again before Thanksgiving.  There should be lots of fun ideas, travel tips, etc., to share with you.

Until then, thank you for visiting and please remember to visit Handmade Monday where you will find some wonderful craft ideas.

With my best wishes for a wonderful week,
Pat (Lilly's Mom)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pattern Link to Undulating Waves Knitted Scarf

Greetings from windy, dry and hot southern California. The Santa Ana winds have made their appearance this weekend and it hasn't been nice.  Luckily we have survived the wind except for a bunch of leaves in the pool.  Next week we are suppose to have "normal" fall like temperatures for our area if I believe the weather forecast.

I loved reading  Gertie's post a couple of weeks ago.  She shared how many works in progress she has.  This currently describes my situation.  For years and years, I would only work on one item at a time.  Well, that changed when I thought about all the wonderful projects I wanted to start and I then began working on more than one project at a time.

As you may recall, I am still knitting away on a large afghan for my daughter.  In the meantime, I have started a crocheted scarf with some wonderful silk yarn that was given to me as a gift.  I also have another knit scarf to begin.  I thought these two scarf projects would be great to take on my trip since they don't take up too much room.

In the meantime, this week I started this undulating waves scarf pattern.  I had seen the scarf in a local yarn shop a couple of years ago.  They wanted me to take a class, buy a kit, etc., to learn how to make the scarf.  I've never taken classes and I like to figure out patterns by myself.  I was searching for a beaded pattern and I found this scarf pattern.  It's the exact scarf that was in the yarn shop.

I should have purchased some proper yarn for the project, but I had this sock yarn and these glass beads so I thought I would give it a go.

The pattern is frustrating and makes me think all the time while I am knitting.  This is not fun for me but I do like the way the pattern is taking shape. 

If you would like to try this scarf, first you need to download the scarf pattern.  If you google images using undulating waves scarf you will see all kinds of yarn that was used.  Here is my version:


The scarf has not been blocked yet so it's a bit too wavy in the knitted parts.  Here's close up:


If you are a Amazon buyer, there's some great deals on 1/2 hanks of 6/0 glass beads. They are already strung and will be easy to transfer to  your yarn.  This scarf would take more than a 1/2 hank so you would need to order two 1/2 hanks.  I do hope you will enjoy this pattern.

Lastly, I am celebrating my birthday tomorrow.  It's not really my birthday yet but on my real birthday I will be having tea at the Ritz in London.  My husband and friends will have a party for me tomorrow at my home.  I decided to bake my own birthday cake.  Here's the Danish kransekage that I made.


As usual, I wish you each of you a wonderful, fun filled week.  And, remember to stop by Handmade Monday and check out some great craft ideas.







Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to Make Needle Felt Acorns

Autumn is here and I can feel fall in the air.  I love the cooler weather and cloudy skies.  Today I am going to share with you a quick project that's perfect for fall.

Last winter when I was in Spokane, Washington, I visited Paradise Fibers where I purchased some wool roving (carded wool).  I wanted to do some needle felting which I  had never done before.  I was inspired by the lovely designs that I had seen on Planet Penny.


Since I'm always looking for a bargain, I bought this kit for the needle felting at my local Michaels store for under $3.00 after using my coupon.  It contains the needle and sponge pad.


Here's how I made the felted acorns.  First I took a few strands of the roving.


Then I blended those strands together with my fingers.


You can see, it's in the shape of a ball.  I then took the felting needle and started to push the needle through the fibers.  


You want to "felt" the entire ball of roving.  To achieve the round shape, I took fibers from the outside of the roving and brought it to the inside, using the felting needle each time.  You goal is to have all the roving felted together.


After the roving is shaped the way you want it, you can insert it into the empty acorn cap.


I didn't have a hot glue gun so I used Elmers glue.  I put the glue on the inside surface of the acorn, then I inserted the "acorn" itself.


 You can use the felting needle to gentle push the acorn into the shell.  Let the acorns dry and then use them in your autumn decor.


This would be a fun project to share with your children.  I remember when I was a child, I lived in a small town in Idaho.  There wasn't any Michaels or Joann's back then.  There was one little tiny craft shop and it was expensive.  One day my Mom let me go there to make a project using pipe cleaners.  I think it was an octopus.  Isn't it funny that I remember this memory that over 50 years old!

Recently, there's a new store that opened up where I live.  It's called Daiso and it's like a Japanese dollar store but items are $1.50.  They offer a packet of roving in various colors for $1.50/package.  This is a great buy.

After doing this little project I found that the brown roving I bought felted much better than the red.  It was a different type of wool and not as fine.  I wish I could tell you more about felting but this is as far as I got on my felting project. 

I hope you each have a wonderful week and please remember to check Handmade Monday.  You will be amazed at all the wonderful craft ideas you will see!

Wishing you the best,
Pat