Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Doughnuts, only not. And putting my stamp on things

I have two things today! First up is the hand carved rubber stamp I purchased from Brown Pigeon on Etsy. It's a representation of my logo in a 4in square stamp and I love it.

Mynah insisted on joining the picture.

Meagan does great work and I received the stamp a mere 12 days after I initiated conversation about the design and what would be possible.

It's a big, beautiful stamp that I intend to use on my shopping bags for festivals. I still need to decide on what kind of pigment ink stamp pad to get. I'm thinking that rainbow might be the most fun but it will depend on how expensive the pads are and how visible the finished image will be on the brown paper of the bags.

The other half of today's post is Doughnut Muffins. Or, in my case, Doughnut Hole Muffins. Picture, recipe and chitchat after the jump.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Gulf fundraiser

A bunch of us have donated goodies to a Gulf fundraiser box that Jessie of the Phatfiber box has been coordinating. It's a big, beautiful box of spinning fiber, yarn, gift certificates, cards and stitch markers, a shawl pin, and Jessie has even included a shawlette she designed and knit. Donations should be sent to, each $5 increment counts as an entry in the drawing. For specifics on how to enter the drawing and to take a look at the box contents, visit Gulf superbox!

My contribution is a skein of the Jackalope base in the colorway Butterflyfish. Butterflyfish are mostly tropical reef fish and many have bright coloration. I really love how cheerful this colorway is.

I really recommend taking a look over at the Gulf superbox post. And if you can, please consider donating to

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A video (p3tog combined)

So, someone asked a Combined knitting question over in the Ravelry forums. I put together a quick little video and decided to put it here, too.

I don't know how helpful it will be, but I think of Combined knitting as a constant state of mind, so this will show some of the process I go through when deciding how to work a pattern written for Western oriented stitches. And if you don't know what Combined knitting is, well this will demonstrate that, too.

I also made my first Etsy Treasury. It's full of fibery goodness from other Phatfiber contributors: Kubla Khan. It was fun but time consuming. I can really see getting sucked into making Treasuries.

Friday, July 23, 2010

And the noms go to....

I have a long blog post about selling on Etsy that I've been percolating for days, but it's not ready for public consumption yet. And really, that rant should be saved for another day. I've got much more pressing and pleasant things to do tonight. Specifically, I need to announce that Emily N. is the recipient of the latest Ice Cream Social!

Myself, I'm not having ice cream tonight. Instead, I'm valiantly refraining from eating an entire bag of tanghulu which my brother brought us from Shanghai.

These tanghulu are preserved haw as opposed to fresh, in a candied sugar shell. Some have sesame seeds or pine nuts or peanuts, and some are plain. They've gotten sticky with humidity, but are still delicious. It just means they want to cling to my teeth and get all over my fingers.

I've had haw candies before, I grew up eating haw flakes, and was always annoyed when the last one stuck to the paper. And more recently I've had fruit leather made from haw, which is chewy and delicious. The first time I had tanghulu was this spring when a cousin brought us a mixed bag of candies. I had one little packet of 2 and was hooked. And then I couldn't find them anywhere on the internet to order.

And this is why I'm resisting eating the whole bag in one sitting. They're very sweet and satisfying, chewy and fruity tangy without tasting quite like anything else. I think the closest I can get to describing the flavor is a cross between apple leather and cooked jujube. The texture of the preserved fruit is soft and sticky, a little bit like almond paste but more delicate and not as dense or syrupy.

Aside from the large quantity of sugar, the hawthorn fruit itself isn't particularly bad for one. But dipping it into a thick shell of sugar isn't exactly great for my teeth or my metabolism. And while they're not big, they're not small either. So I'm trying to spread them out. We'll see how that goes....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Hammer and a Box

 First up, a reminder!  Today is the last day to enter in on the Ice Cream Social giveaway.  Free ice cream, what's not to like?

Secondly, I bought a new hammer. I decided to upgrade my stitch marker making tools and retire the hammer I've been using. It's a serious upgrade, too.  Before and After.
That would be a dollar store hammer on the left, that I had to pound nails into because the head wanted to fly off every time I used it. Yes, I used a dollar store hammer. What can I say? It served me faithfully all these months.  Meanwhile the new hammer has 4 interchangeable heads and is much heavier and smoother. I haven't tried it out yet, but I think it's a good change.

Thirdly, I received my July Phatfiber box yesterday and I have pictures of course!  July's theme is Seaweed, Ships and Scallywags.  Arr thar mateys, thar be hidden treasure in this here jump break!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ice cream social II - Another giveaway

It's that time again! Today is National Ice Cream Day and I've got another coupon for a pint of Ben & Jerry's up for grabs.

Just comment here any time through Thursday, July 22, about your favorite summertime treat(s), and you'll be entered in the random drawing! Please leave a way to get back in touch with you, or check back here on Friday, July 23 to see if you've won!

Once again, this coupon expires in 2011 and is only good in the US. However! Don't let that stop you if you're outside the US. If you win, I'll send a little surprise instead.

Myself, I love the bounty of fresh fruit the summer brings. One of my favorite extra special treats is a ripe, juicy peach or two cut up and smothered in vanilla ice cream. I've also been known to take a slice of chilled watermelon, straight through the melon like a wagon wheel and laid out on a plate, and go at it with a spoon. Or sit me down with a big bowl of cherries and leave me alone; I can never get enough cherries. Or I'll have a rootbeer float if I want something that instantly throws me into childhood nostalgia. What can I say, I love sweet treats!

I'll leave you with a picture of a melon. The farm gave us a few of these yesterday. This one is on the small side, but they don't get very big. 1-2 pounds is normal.

They're known as xiang gua in Mandarin, or "fragrant melon". After a bit of Googling, I found the English name is early silver line melon. They're small and hollow, white-fleshed and crisp, sweet and mild in taste like a honeydew. The skin is smooth and can be eaten. They're a bit underwhelming if they haven't ripened enough. We're going to let this one sit for a few days to improve.

Now tell us about your favorites! :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An update and Ice cream month

I've been updating the shop in bursts for a few days, and last night I finally redid all my listing titles. The old versions were too wordy and it was difficult to keep straight which was which base. Hopefully the more succinct titles will work better.  Let me know what you think!

Picture links to the shop.

Now, on to the sweet, creamy good stuff. Did you know that in the US July is National Ice Cream Month?  I only just found this out.  Not only that, but the third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day. That's tomorrow!  So it's very appropriate that I am making ice cream today.  Tomorrow, I'll start the next ice cream giveaway.

But today, my niece and nephew are over and that alone is reason to make ice cream.  I'm using the same recipe I used for the mango ice cream, but I'm using beautiful, ripe peaches instead.

Peach ice cream with cherry topping, in a wine glass so the layers can be seen. It could have been frozen a little longer, but I was impatient.
Recipe chatter below the fold.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dinner and an update

I got my July Phatfiber colorways listed by the skin of my teeth, today, as well as a few other colorways.  I'm still working on editing and then listing the rest of my June yarns.  But first, I have to cook dinner!

This is one of the colorways I listed last night. It's called "Monster under the Bed" and is a combination of a red burgundy or maroon, purple, and bright greens shot through with chartreuse and light blue. The picture will take you to the listing.

Now, on to dinner!  I'm working with not a lot of sleep, so simple was intended as the order of the day.  I was going to do chicken cutlets, but someone cut up my chicken breasts. Needless to say, I couldn't pound them and then coat them with flour and pan fry them anymore.  Add to this that the tooth challenged member of the family requested rice instead of pasta, and my entire plan for the evening was shot.

So, since I couldn't go simple, I went complicated. But not too complicated.  In this case, a kind of chicken croquette.  I ground the chicken breasts with salt, a little thyme and black pepper, added some egg, and wrapped them around a bit of cheddar cheese. Coated with flour since I have no bread crumbs, and then fried in a pan with some oil and finished in the oven, or toaster oven in this case.

Recipe below the fold.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And the random number generator says....

2!  That means Deb is the winner of the July 1 giveaway for some delicious Urbbody products and a KIP bag from Ruddawg.  ... I just noticed the double letter confluence in both shop names. That's pretty funny. :D

Deb, please contact me with your address so I can send out your prize!

Meanwhile, I'm busy making stitch markers, labeling yarn, and editing yarn pictures. But I did get one thing done today.  I've finally listed yarn samplers in my shop. These have the same composition as my Phatfiber Box samples.

A sample booklet with 6 yarn snips and a mini-skein. This picture links to the listing.

These samplers have a mini-skein with about 20yds of yarn, and 6 snips of all the bases at about 2yds each. They cost $4 plus shipping, and they come with a $4 coupon off one's next purchase. The coupon is good for six months, so there's plenty of time to touch the yarn and swatch before deciding. 

I've been thinking about offering samplers for a long time. It's practical and low commitment compared to a full skein of yarn purchased on the merit of pictures and feedback alone.  I know that I'm always curious about the hand of yarns before I buy them.  My Phatfiber Box sample format is perfect for this application as well, so it was a natural extension.

The yarn is all random colorways, assembled from what I have available.  The mini-skein in all of the packets I have right now are in the Dutch Iris colorway on the Jackrabbit base.  I can't guarantee being able to switch out the mini-skein for a different base yarn, but if asked I'll definitely look through the yarn I have reserved for samples and try.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


First a reminder!  Today is the last day to comment for the July 1 giveaway! I'm giving away some lovely Urbbody products, you know you want 'em!

Meanwhile, it is hot. It is ridiculously hot. I have to give the rabbit outside ice bottles three times a day so he doesn't overheat.  He's hiding in his little house cuddled up to a cold water bottle.  For some reason, the cats have insisted on staying outside, however, and we're treated to melted cats draped over all the available cool surfaces.

Bergil and Banquo defying sense and staying outside in the stunning heat.

The last few days have been taken up with preparing my Phatfiber samples.  July and August were mailed out today.  Sending 2mos at a time is more than a 50% savings in priority shipping, and that alone makes it worthwhile. They should get there in plenty of time for box drop.

July samples shown in colorways Sea Wrack and Long Walk, Jackrabbit base.

And it's Wednesday, which means it's my day to cook.  I refuse to heat up the house by turning on the stove, so I'm getting creative with leftovers. Especially after picking up a chocolate bar I left in my office and it squished

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fifth of July, not fifth of gin

First things first, I'm giving away some delightful Urbbody products in this post

Meanwhile, the quip "Fourth of July, fifth of gin" passed through my radar yesterday.  We missed out on fireworks, but stayed inside and tried to keep cool.  Our family barbecue is today and all that cooking I haven't done lately came to a head.

I'm historically in charge of dessert and I usually bake.  Unfortunately, we're in the grip of an entirely ridiculous heat wave. It went up to 100°F today, according to the thermometer on the front of the house. Mind you, our house is usually a good 4-6 degrees cooler than street level because we're on a hill surrounded by trees.  I can't remember a July this hot before, and we're all hiding inside as much as possible.

Luckily, we have a gas grill with a side burner, and a full tank of propane. I've made cobbler on the grill in the past, so today I decided to try clafoutis.  Clafoutis is a custard fruit tart and one of my favorite things. And then, because I've been wanting it for a while, I also made mango ice cream. A new recipe for me, that I like very much and can also see my way to modifying.
Blueberry and cherry clafoutis, and mango ice cream with a sprinkling of sweetened flaked coconut.

Recipes and more chatter after the jump.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 giveaway - Urbbody is good for your body!

I'm up to my elbows in hot, wet wool but I had to leap in and post the next giveaway. I hope you'll love this one, because I do!  July's drawing is for a delicious set of moisturizers from Urbbody.

Solid lotion, cuticle balm, and two lip balms.

Urbbody is an old friend of mine from waaay back, and her products have been delighting people since 2007.  The set I am giving away has one solid lotion in the Jasmine, Rose and Ylang Ylang scent; one cuticle balm in Lemon; and two lip balms, one vegan White Chocolate and Rose and one Herbal Mint.  The cuticle balm has a handy applicator brush built in to the tube.

I'm also going to add in a small KIP bag from Ruddawg that I received in a past Phatfiber box, as well, as a carry-all.  It's not pictured here, but it's a red print.

To be entered in this drawing, all you have to do is comment here with what your favorite fragrances are for bath and body. Do you have a dream fragrance no one makes?  Let us know! And it wouldn't be amiss to go and visit Urbbody and take a look at her wonderful  products, too.  She has licorice and donut scented perfume. Who could resist that?

The giveaway closes on July 7th, and I'll pick a winner out of a hat on July 8th.