Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A sampling of pouch tutorials

Earlier this summer I went on a sewing bonanza, part of which was making a bunch of different kinds of little zippered pouches.   I had been bookmarking different patterns so I basically tried out all the different ones I had been meaning to try and then made up a variation of my own after that.  If you are wondering what I am going to do with all these pouches, they will largely be christmas gifts (any of my family that is reading this, sorry for the spoiler but I guess you can still be surprised by which you get).

The first ones I made were from this tutorial on Skip to My Lou.  I had fun picking out different fabrics that coordinated both for the two outside fabrics and for the inside.  I followed the tutorial except that I made the pleats fold half way to each side (if that makes sense) rather than flat to one side or the other; I liked how it looked better this way.

Next I made a few really cute small clutch purses using this tutorial from Noodlehead.  I followed the simpler variation of the tutorial and just included one interior pocket in each, rather than a divider etc.   I would like to make a few more of these and also may try to use this technique to make a slightly larger clutch or just a purse... will have to see what works out when I try.

Finally, I slightly modified this tutorial to make a small bag with one pleat and squared off bottom corners.  Then, I combined elements of the first pouch and this one to come up with the bottom pouch shown below, which I really like.  I will write up a pattern/tutorial at some point and post, but I will need to go back and make another pouch to actually keep track of what I did, take pictures etc.  Anyone else have any good pouch tutorials to recommend?  If I have time to do more sewing at some point I am planning to make a few purses...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Black bean peach salad and tabbouleh

Tonight's dinner was a bit eclectic - based largely on what I had in the fridge and what I felt like making, these two salads went together better than I expected.  The black bean salad has a bit of spice which is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the peaches.  In a continuation of my what-to-do-with-all-these-cucumbers situation, the tabbouleh served well to use up several cukes, the tomatoes I had on hand (one from the garden, one from the market), and some leftover bulgur.   I served the salads with a side of honeydew melon which was also delicious!  Also in the photo above you can see the placemats which I made a few years ago with some Amy Butler fabric, without even thinking about the fact that it would perfectly match my orange (spodumene glaze) plates.

Black Bean and Peach Salad
  • 4-6 cups cooked black beans (2-3 cans), rinsed
  • 2 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 -1 cup chopped peppers (1-2 large peppers or multiple small)
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped (or red onion would be good too)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled aleppo peppers (or crushed red pepper generally if you don't have aleppos)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • salt to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Garden Tabbouleh
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 1-2 cups chopped cucumber
  • 1-2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 - 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt to taste (I salted generously)
Put bulgur in a heatproof bowl and cook by pouring boiling water to cover by 1", then cover and let sit for 15-20 minutes.  Drain if necessary then combine with remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Green Cabled Baby Hat

I did finally get to a yarn store and write down the next part of the pattern for the sweater I am working on, but I made one more baby hat out of the yarn I had brought with me on our trip before then.  This green yarn was really intended just to be pumpkin stems (and other fruit/veggie stems in the future) but I needed a project and there was more than enough yarn to make a hat and several more stems.  I thought it would be fun to make a cabled baby hat and came up with this design.  It staggers the cables which I think gives it a nice all-over cabled look.  It's pretty small so it is probably best as a preemie or newborn size (although I am not an expert in baby head sizes).  Also, ever since I saw this tutorial I have been cabling without a cable needle - if you haven't tried it yet I highly recommend it!

I love seeing the hats that have been made with this pattern on Ravelry; if you are on Flickr you can also share a photo in the Needle and Spatula Flickr group.

Staggered Cable Baby Hat
Swish DK yarn
Size 5 long circular needles or DPNs and a row counter

CO 80 stitches and join in the round using magic loop technique, being careful not to twist. Use tail to mark beginning of round.  Work K1 P1 rib for 3/4" - 1", then work in rounds as follows (repeating round 1 twice on the first repeat):
Rounds 1,2,4,5: *K6, P2, repeat from *
Round 3: *cable 6 forward (C6F) (or back, just be consistent), P2, K6, P2, repeat from *
Round 6: *K6, P2, C6F, P2, repeat from *
repeat rounds 1-6 two times
repeat rounds 1-2
Decrease round 1: *C6F, P2, K2tog K2 ssk, P2, repeat from *
2 rounds of: *K6, P2, K4, P2, rep from *
Decrease round 2: *K2tog K2 ssk, P2, cable 4 forward (C4F), P2, rep from *
1 round of: *K4, P2, rep from *
Decrease round 3: * C4F, P2tog, K4, P2tog, rep from *
1 round of: *K4, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 4: *K2tog ssk, P1, C4F, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K2, P1, K4, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 5: *K2, P1, K2tog ssk, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K2, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 6: *K2tog, P1, rep from *
1 round of *K1 P1, rep from *
Decrease round 7: K2tog, repeat for all stitches (10 st remain)
Decrease round 8: K2tog, repeat for all stitches (5 st remain)
Thread yarn through remain stitches and pull tight, then weave in ends.

NOTE ON SIZING: (added 10/18)
Since this pattern as written probably makes more of a preemie/newborn size hat, I wanted to provide some additional options to make it more helpful for larger babies.  To make a slightly larger hat, you can repeat the initial rounds 1-6 three or four times, rather than 2.  I think this would be more like an infant - 3 month size.  For larger sizes, try making the hat using worsted weight yarn and larger needles (and probably 3-4 or more repeats of the initial pattern).  I hope no one has made this hat and had it turn out too small...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What to do with 8 million cucumbers... and also a bulgur lentil salad

We are back home, and this is what my garden had to say to me after a week away.  I was lucky that it rained a lot while we were gone, otherwise the plants would have been much less happy.  The tomatoes are still recovering from their earlier overabundance but it looks like we'll have a few in the coming weeks which will be nice.  The first answer to what to do with 8 million cucumbers is obvious... pickles!  However, I already made these from this recipe just before we left (with all the cucumbers that I harvested before we left) and they were ready to eat when we got back.  I am normally not a pickle person but I liked them.

So, I didn't want to make more pickles tonight.  I looked in Chez Panisse Vegetables and came up with a simple recipe for sauteed cucumbers.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but with nothing better to do with all my cukes I thought I would give it a try.  I also made up a lentil bulgur salad with roasted purple peppers (addressing my other vegetable problem)... The cucumbers were pretty good although a little bland.  The lentil salad was a variant on ones I have made before and was again very yummy!

Sauteed Cucumbers
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables

Peel, seed and chop several cucumbers.  Saute in butter until slightly tender but still firm.  Salt to taste and garnish with chopped chives.

Lentil Bulgur Salad with Roasted Peppers
  • 1 cup dried bulgur
  • 3/4 cup dried lentils (I used regular brown lentils but french lentils would be good too)
  • 1-2 large or several small green, purple or red peppers
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
Bring about 2-3 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan, add lentils and lightly boil/simmer over medium heat until tender (about 20-30 minutes).  Put the bulgur in a heat-proof container with a lid and cover with boiling water by about an inch, let sit.  Very lightly coat the peppers with oil (I used olive oil spray) and roast - I roasted by broiling in the toaster oven until they looked done, turning midway - I think it was about 5-10 minutes.  Take them out of the oven and either put in a paper bag or cover the pan with a plate or other lid, let cool and then remove skins (as much as you can - don't worry if you can't get them all off), then finely chop.  In a large bowl or container, mix together all ingredients.  This would also be good with the addition of toasted walnuts or feta cheese.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pumpkin Baby Hats

Since I forgot the pattern for the sweater I am working on, I have been knitting up baby hats like there's no tomorrow while we're out here in Washington state.  I had brought along the yarn to make these pumpkin hats and have had fun playing around with the design and coming up with a pattern that I like.  The first version is on the left above and has a K6 P2 rib and the second version, which I like better, is on the right and has a K7 P1 rib.  You can't really see what they look like when they are not on a baby and so I borrowed a doll from my mother in law to try them on. 

I made both hats out of one skein of orange swish DK and one skein of green, and had some orange yarn left over (and tons of green - I knit another all green hat and have plenty to make stems for other fruit and veggie hats in the future).  I used long size 5 circular needles and knit both hats using the magic loop technique, but if you prefer you could use DPNs.  The patterns are below - you can always mix and match different elements between the two, and I have put in a few notes to indicate how.  

I love seeing the hats that have been made with this pattern on Ravelry; if you are on Flickr you can also share a photo in the Needle and Spatula Flickr group

Pumpkin Hat 1:
This hat has a smaller rolled edge, deeper spaces between the ribs, and a longer stem (you could sew it in place with the twist, but I didn't). 

NOTE: the pattern as written makes a preemie/newborn size hat - see notes on sizing below for other options. (added 10/18)

CO 80 stitches in orange, join in the round being careful not to twist.  Using tail to indicate beginning of round, knit four rounds and purl one round (this makes a smaller rolled rim - add more rounds of knitting for a larger rolled rim).  For ribbing pattern: *K6, P2, repeat from * until end of round.  Continue in pattern until hat measures 3".

Decrease round 1: *K2tog, K4, P2, repeat from *
2 rounds of: *K5, P2, repeat from *
Decrease round 2: *K5 P2tog, rep from *
1 round of: *K5 P1, rep from *
Decrease round 3: *K3, ssk, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K4, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 4: *K2tog, K2, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K3, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 5: *K1, ssk, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K2, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 6: *K2tog, P1, rep from *
1 round of: *K1 P1 (orange), K1 (green), P1(orange), rep from *
1 round of: *K1(orange), K2tog K1 (green), rep from *
1 round of: *K2tog (green), rep from *
Then K2, K2tog until 6 st remain (may be more than 1 round)
Knit 6 stitches either as I-cord or using magic loop for about 1 1/2", then decrease to 5 stitches and continue until measures desired length (about 2 1/2" - 3") and bind off by threading yarn through remaining stiches and pulling tight.  Weave in ends.  (This makes a longer, thinner stem - for a shorter, thicker stem don't decrease as many stitches and make it shorter).

Pumpkin Hat 2:
This hat has a larger rolled edge, less deep spaces between the ribs, and a shorter stem.  I think the base of the stem where it joins the hat looks better on this version and overall I am happier with this one.  It could easily be adapted to have a longer and skinnier stem if you like that look better.

NOTE: the pattern as written makes a preemie/newborn size hat - see notes on sizing below for other options. (added 10/18)

CO 80 stitches in orange, join in the round being careful not to twist. Using tail to indicate beginning of round, knit 7 rounds and purl one round (this makes a larger rolled rim). For ribbing pattern: *K7, P1, repeat from * until end of round. Continue in pattern until hat measures 3".

Decrease round 1: *K2tog, K5, P1, rep from *
1 round: *K6, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 2: *K4, ssk, P1, rep from *
1 round: *K5, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 3: *K2tog, K3, P1, rep from *
1 round: *K4, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 4: *K2, ssk, P1, rep from *
1 round: *K3, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 5: *K2tog, K1, P1, rep from *
1 round: *K2, P1, rep from *
Decrease round 6: *K2tog P1 (orange), K2tog (green), P1(orange), rep from *
1 round: * K1 (orange), K3 (green)
Decrease round 7: * K2, K2tog (all green from now on), rep from *
1 round - Knit all stitches
Decrease round 8: *K1, k2tog, rep from *
Decrease round 9: decrease 2 more stitches (evenly spaced) - 8 stitches remain

Continue knitting until stem is ~1" or whatever length you prefer.  Knit one round K2tog to decrease to 4 stitches, then bind off by threading yarn through remaining stitches and weaving in ends.  You can adapt this hat to have a longer thinner stem by following the pattern as written until decrease round 9, decrease to 5 or 6 stitches and follow directions as for first hat.

Now that I have seen the hat on a baby, I realized that the pattern as written is more of a preemie/newborn size.  To make a hat that will fit newborn to three months (or maybe 6 months), it should work to follow the pattern as written, but make it 4 - 4 1/2" long before you start decreases.  For a larger hat, (6-9 months or so), CO 88 stitches, and make it 5" long or so before you start decreases (the stem pattern doesn't exactly work as written in this case, but you should be able to fudge it to make it work).  I really apologize if anyone who used this pattern ended up with a hat that was too small, but hopefully this information will be helpful to folks moving forward. [UPDATED AGAIN (slightly) FEB. 2011]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birthday socks complete

I finished Lawson's socks on Sunday - after his birthday but within his birthday week, so I thought I did pretty well all things considered.  It has been unseasonably warm here in Washington state so he hasn't had much occasion to wear them yet, but he seems to be happy with them.  I'm glad I used the sport weight yarn, it made it go a lot faster than the year I made him regular fingering weight ones.

The other big project that I brought to work on is the Cables and Os sweater from No Sheep for You... but I forgot the pattern, doh.  We may stop by a library tomorrow to see if I can borrow the book for the rest of the trip.  In the meantime, I have been knitting some cute pumpkin baby hats which I have been making up - I will post the two variations (and patterns for both) when they are done.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Screenprinted tote bags

We are out in Washington State visiting Lawson's family, who threw us a wonderful west coast party to celebrate our wedding (which was just over 3 months ago - time flies!), so we have been reminiscing about our wedding.  So here is another craft project from the wedding - screenprinted tote bags which we gave to all the out of town guests, with some snacks and a packet of information.  I thought it was nice to make the guest bag into something reusable and a reminder of the wedding - people seemed to really enjoy them.

The wedding was a great excuse to try out some new crafts that I hadn't done before or don't get to do too much, and screenprinting was the biggest new thing I learned.  My friend Mandy was a big help both the first time we tried screenprinting (non-wedding-related) and then again printing all the bags for the wedding.

I made the screen design using drawing fluid to paint the screen (after I had drawn a sketch on the screen in pencil laying it out) and then using screen filler to block the open areas.  As you can see, in the process of making all the bags, we pretty much covered every surface in our living/dining room area.  I love how there is one hanging off the spout of the teapot.  Also visible in the top photo (under the bags) are some of the vases that I made for the wedding... which will be the subject of a future post.

The true hero of this craft-venture (in addition to Mandy) was Lawson, who ironed each bag for 3 minutes to set the ink.  That was a lot of ironing!  Luckily he was able to watch hockey at the same time.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Spaghetti with Overgrown Arugula

This is a recipe we ate a lot last summer, since I grew lots of arugula. I didn't grow much this summer, but I did have this one pot that definitely counted as overgrown (not to mention neglected and ignored).  I had pretty much given up on eating it and was just putting off pulling it out and composting it, but then I remembered this recipe... It still had quite a nice level of spiciness but wasn't too strong to eat.

I harvested the whole pot of arugula, but after I sorted through it and threw out the bad parts, there was not quite as much.  It cooks down a lot and ends up looking like not much greens for your pasta, but if you pull apart the clumps and spread it throughout the pasta the taste is certainly strong enough to carry the dish.

Spaghetti with Overgrown Arugula
Adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti (or I used barilla plus)
  • 1 large bunch or bag mature/overgrown arugula
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • several pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ricotta or goat cheese (optional - we were out so I omitted)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
I have adapted this to make it a one pot meal - takes just a few minutes longer.  In a large pot, salt water and bring to a boil, then cook spaghetti until al dente (still slightly firm).  Drain the pasta and reheat pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and when it is warm, cook the garlic and pepper flakes for 1 minute.  Add the arugula (slightly wet) and a few pinches of salt, and cook until arugula is wilted, 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure it all gets cooked.  Add the cooked spaghetti and walnuts to the pan and stir to mix thoroughly.  Serve topped with ricotta/goat cheese and grated parmesan.

Tip for toasting nuts:  it is super easy to burn nuts.  I find the best way to toast is with the timer in my toaster oven - I just put them in on the tray and set it to the light setting and that way there is less of a risk of forgetting about them and burning them all (which has happened to me more times than I like to say).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Black bean and swiss chard quesadillas

This is literally what I ate for most of graduate school.  Quick, delicious, relatively healthy, and it has black beans... what more could I ask for?  I usually make this with swiss chard, since I grow it in my garden, but it works fine with spinach too.

Black Bean and Chard Quesadillas
Makes 1 full size quesadilla (sandwiching two full tortillas) or 2 folded over quesadillas.
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mexican cheese mixture, or goat cheese)
  • 4 large chard leaves, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup), or equivalent amount of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon finely choppped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 medium to large sized whole grain flour tortillas
Mix together the beans with the chili powder and cumin, then spread on the center of the bottom tortilla (or on one half of each of two tortillas, if you are making folded ones).  Mound the cheese in the center of the beans (or near the fold, if you are making folded ones) - the cheese will melt out as it cooks, so you want to put it near the center to start to keep it from getting too messy.  Put the chard and cilantro on top, then top with the second tortilla (or fold over).  I have always cooked these on a george forman grill or a panini press (folded over size works better on a forman, if you put the fold at the bottom it prevents everthing from coming out the bottom as it melts).  If you don't have either of those, you could try cooking them on a cast iron skillet, baking in a toaster oven (or conventional oven), or even microwaving (although I expect that would get soggy).  Serve with salsa, sour cream, or just plain.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Baby bibs and shoes

I was super excited to find out today that I won the giveaway on the long thread for the book fa la la la felt!  This is the first blog giveaway I have won, so that was exciting, but mostly I am psyched because I love making holiday crafts, and this looks like it will have lots of great ideas.  I thought that now would be a great time for this post which I have been meaning to write, and which was partially inspired by a post on the long thread.  I thought the baby shoes were adorable and although the idea of making shoes had never occurred to me, it turned out they weren't as hard to make as you might think. 

Inspired by a different post on purl bee I have also whipped up quite a number of baby bibs.  The bib and booties together make quite a cute matching set!  Here is the back of the bib shown above (and the fabric which I used on the inside of the shoes):

As you can probably tell, I made a number of changes to the bib pattern.  I drew my own shape (mostly because I didn't feel like bothering to print the pattern, but I think I like the shape that I came up with better), and I didn't include a pocket.  I also decided that the bibs would be more parent-friendly if I made them with snaps rather than just ties, so some that were already made I added snaps in the middle of the back, and then on the next round of bibs that I made I put a snap to one side and adjusted the strap lengths.  The bibs and the shoes are both a great way to use up leftover fabric - I have been enjoying continuing to use the fabric leftover from Eli's quilt.

These are the backs of the same bibs:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Easy Summer Dinner with Microwave Corn on the Cob

Last night I pulled together a quick summer dinner for us before I went off to my pottery class.  It was nothing complicated but I thought it was a great example of how, when you have such delicious fresh produce in summer, even a last-minute dinner can be really top notch.

We had a tomato basil salad with ingredients from the garden.  Funny side note: my carmello tomato plant went from producing more tomatoes than I can handle to nothing in the past week.  Somehow even though I'm pretty sure it's an indeterminate plant, it set a bunch of fruit that all ripened at once.  I am hoping that if I fertilize it a bit it will come back and have more fruit... for now, we're back to just cherry tomatoes.

We also had spinach fettucine with homemade pesto (although I confess it has been in the freezer since last season - we had so much basil that we are still working through last year's pesto supply).

Finally, I made corn on the cob in the microwave.  I forget where I originally heard about this trick, but after picking up a few ears at the farmer's market yesterday, I remembered it and wanted to try it out.  I used a recipe I found online and followed the directions, although I substituted a wet dishtowel for the paper towel (I can't stand to waste a good paper towel).  It worked really well, and as promised, it was was much easier to husk and remove all the silk!  All in all, a great way to enjoy fresh corn quickly, and it still tasted fresh, sweet and delicious.

We topped the dinner off later in the evening with the last of our peach ice cream... which was custard-based, but reading this NYT article makes me want to try making some philly-style ice cream soon (and reinforces my desire to get David Lebovitz's ice cream book).

Monday, August 02, 2010

Smoky Black Beans

I love black beans.  They are one of my all-time favorite foods.  I may have had a hankering to make black beans for dinner tonight because we went to a crummy suburban Mexican restaurant in Hagerstown for dinner last night, where not only did they serve only bad refried beans with their food, but we strongly suspected that they were using American cheese.  Very sad.  Our dinner tonight was much, much better.

Featuring peppers, basil and oregano from the garden, we ate the beans accompanied by brown rice, feta cheese, and another peach tomato salad (with a drizzle of lime to make it more Mexican side-dish appropriate).  Also visible in the picture at top - fun napkins that I made using Metro Cafe fabric.  I originally thought that we would use these for outdoors to go with our bright red plates, but we have been enjoying their bright summeriness inside too.

Smoky Black Beans
  • 1 lb dried black beans or 3 16 oz cans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2-3 chopped peppers (more if you are using small ones like my garden has been producing)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1-2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ancho chili peppers
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili peppers (this is what gives it the smoky flavor)
  • salt to taste
Either pre-soak the beans for 6-8 hours, then drain water and add new water to cover by 1-2", or just cook in a pressure cooker (my preference!), or use canned beans.  While the beans are cooking (if not using canned), chop the vegetables and begin to cook.  Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, then add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the peppers, garlic, herbs and spices, and continuing sauteing until the peppers start to soften (or until the beans finish cooking).  Add the beans a a cup or two of the cooking liquid (or water if using canned beans).  Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 15-20 minutes.  Mash the beans or use a hand blender to partially blend (or remove part of the beans to a blender then return to the pot - be careful not to burn yourself).  Add salt to taste, let cool for a few minutes and serve.  Makes about 6-8 servings - plenty for leftovers!

These make great leftovers - the flavor deepens when they have a chance to sit (so be careful not to add too much spice for your taste!).  Also - you can put pretty much any vegetable in these that you please, they are also a great way to use up zucchini.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Camping and birthday socks

This weekend we got away for a quick camping trip to Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland.  It was amazing how much cooler it was just a few hours drive from DC!  I ended up wearing the one pair of pants and one lightweight sweater I had brought almost all weekend, and not needing the shorts at all... not bad!  It was really relaxing to get away and just enjoy some time in the woods.

Yesterday, we drove up to Pennsylvania and went to see Fallingwater.  It was really cool - not only do you get to walk around and see the house from the outside, you get to tour the inside which is preserved as a museum with all the original built-in furniture and the belongings of the family that owned it.  Unfortunately you aren't allowed to take photos of the inside and you aren't allowed to post any photos you take of the outside, so I can't put any up here, but I definitely recommend a visit if you are able!

With all the time in the car (and with Lawson kind enough to do all the driving), I made some good progress on my current knitting project: Lawson's birthday socks.  The first year we were dating I made him socks for his birthday, and it has become an annual tradition.  I love knitting socks although I do find men's socks somewhat frustrating, since they are not only usually in bland colors, they are also about 1 1/2 times as large as women's socks (at least that's how it feels when I am knitting them!).  But Lawson really enjoys getting new socks each year so it is worth it.  I finished the first sock before we left and have made some serious progress on the second sock (I took these pictures at the campground this morning, I am now down to the heel flap of the second sock).

Maybe I'll actually finish them both before his birthday this year (which is in about a week and a half)!
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