Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Mid-winter make and do


Happy Wednesday! How are you doing? Things are good here. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented on my latest ripple blanket. I appreciate your kind words! I know it's nothing all that special but I had fun making it. I'm also excited to have used up a lot of my stash; I gave it all a close look the other day and I really don't think there's enough worsted-weight acrylic to make another blanket. I can switch to smaller projects with it now if I want to. The next step will be chiseling away at the DK acrylic stash, which is a bit daunting if I'm honest. There's a LOT of that to use up.

This time of year always feels really productive to me, and I'm enjoying myself at home, doing little things here and there. One thing I've wanted to try for a little bit is a scarf pattern I found on Ravelry, the Spring Petals Scarf by a Ravelry member called Ragamuffin. It's a simple pattern and I figured it out fairly quickly. I decided to use another stash yarn for it, Caron Simply Soft in Pistachio. I love Simply Soft for scarves because it drapes nicely and feels soft and silky on your neck. I'm thinking about giving this scarf as a gift, but if I decide to keep it, I know I'll enjoy wearing it myself.



I started a new cross-stitch project too. I just finished a small one that is part of a set of two that I've been working on for what seems like years; my cross-stitch game was off for a little while (I'll share those two soon, I hope). But I feel inspired again so I started something new. This one is Polish Floral Heart, from an Etsy shop called Galaborn Patterns (click on the link to see the design in color; I only have a black-and-white printer and I can't show you the pattern in all its glory!). I love this design and have had it in my collection for a couple of years. I'm finally ready to work on it and it's a pleasure so far. I'm using stash embroidery floss for this design and it was fun to go "shopping" in my floss storage for colors, which are not quite the same as the pattern specifies, but close enough.


I've been catching up with my magazines lately, having let the pile grow during the holidays. But I made it through the January issues and am currently working on February. I love February issues of magazines; the colors are always pretty and the projects are sweet and lovely.


And I finally got my turn with a library copy of Tana French's new novel, The Witch Elm. I'm a longtime fan of her books, though I have not loved them all equally. I find her books to be a bit hit-or-miss, but all of them have been readable. This one is not related to the others, which featured the Dublin Murder Squad and its cast of crime-investigating characters, which made it more appealing to me (I'm a little tired of them, honestly). I'm only a few pages in and it's good so far, but I'm reserving judgment for now. It's just good to have books around and the time to read them. I've been adding new books to my library holds list lately, just trying to catch up with the latest hits. I probably won't see most of them until summer, but that's just fine since I will have more time to read then.


After watching my little philodendron languish in the corner of the kitchen for the past year, I decided to take it out of its pretty macrame hanger and put it on the built-in shelves in our family room. This window gets the most light of any window at the back of the house and I'm hoping it will be enough for this poor plant. To be fair, it has grown, but I don't think it's going to do much more than this if it doesn't get more light. Our house just isn't great for plants, I've concluded. The front of the house faces south and the sun streams in nicely but there are only two windows on that side of the house, with only one of them appropriate for plants, but every plant I've tried there gets burned up by the intense sun in the window. The back of the house is much darker, with mostly north-facing windows, including in my bedroom, and plants can't get enough light. This window faces east, so I'm hopeful that I can make it work here. This may be a sunny climate, but I just can't get the indoor sun right for good plant life! Frustrating.



I've been baking a quick bread recipe for a few months and trying different things with it, to mostly great results. The recipe is called Healthy Banana Bread and it comes from a food blog that I love, called Cookie and Kate. It's a great, easy recipe that results in delicious, moist bread that is actually decently healthy, so it's a win for me. I've been experimenting with the recipe, substituting different fruit or veggie puree for the banana. So far, I've tried pumpkin bread (subbing one cup of canned pureed pumpkin for the banana) and applesauce bread (subbing one cup of unsweetened applesauce for the banana). Yesterday, I did the applesauce version with the addition of about 3/4 cup total of golden raisins and chopped walnuts. It's delicious! I think I'll cut the applesauce down slightly next time, since the bread is just slightly "puddingy" in the center; the raisins probably added a little moisture. I might also increase the baking time. It came out well overall, though, and I enjoyed a slice with my evening tea last night while waiting on the dryer and watching Forensic Files (yes, I'm still on that; there are hundreds of episodes to get through, and frankly, it's the perfect show for laundry night).

I hope you're having a good week! Life is busy but good here. I'm looking forward to our weekly episode of Midsomer Murders tonight, Private Friday is this week, and Super Bowl Sunday! Plus I have library books, crochet and cross-stitch, so I'm all set. Enjoy the rest of your week.

20 comments:

  1. Nice to read all that you've been doing Jennifer. I like your scarf pattern and the colour, very pretty. Your blanket last time looked really good. Enjoy your week, Cathy x

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  2. There's always such a cosy warmth here at Thistlebear Home. Your plans the for the rest of the week/weekend sound lovely. The scarf is gorgeous, I love that texture, and the colour and silkiness of the yarn as well. It's good to have something soft round your neck. Have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

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  3. The bread sounds and looks delicious. I wanted gingerbread, but none was available so I had Mac make a spice cake, it was so good.

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  4. I love Simply Soft yarn too... it makes up so pretty and it's a dream to work with. I love the pattern of your scarf. Your bread looks delicious. I've been doing a similar experiment with a muffin recipe that I found. So far I've made banana, apple, blackberry and blueberry muffins from the recipe.

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  5. I love the pattern of that scarf.
    Your cross stitch is going to be pretty too.
    As usual, it feels warm and cozy here. :)

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  6. I just ordered a subscription to Real Simple Magazine. The February issue looks lovely. I think I'll enjoy it! A friend passed along her February issue of good Housekeeping and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I also subscribe to Sunset, Better Homes, and Country Living. I look so forward to receiving magazines in the mail each month. Your bread looks so good and healthy. It sounds like you have some nice plans for the upcoming weekend. I'm making chicken wings, nachos and brownies for Super Bowl Sunday. Have a great rest of the week and upcoming weekend, Jennifer!

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  7. its good to catch up with you again. i do enjoy seeing your updates in my feed! have a lovely week xx

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  8. So nice to catch up with your Winter pursuits Jennifer. The cross-stitch is going to be gorgeous, I just know it, and I hope you make those Valentine cookies on the magazine cover. I love banana bread too, but am planning to try pumpkin with chocolate chips, which I think will go down well with the family. Your apple/raisin/walnut combo sounds excellent. Finding just the right spot for the indoor plants can be a challenge, but East sounds good to me. Hope it works for the plant.

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  9. Thistlebear Home is just how I would like my home to be - cosy, warm and gentle. I might move in and pretend to be one of your little bears (only joking of course). Have a lovely weekend xx

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  10. so many nice projects and things here! I can't wait to see your cross stitch, I always love seeing them and the other things you make! yay for health quick breads! that's just lovely! Have a peaceful weekend!

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  11. Beautiful work! I love that crochet stitch because it goes fast and it's so pretty. I have made baby blankets using that stitch and they turned quite pretty. Nice cross stitch project and yummy looking banana bread.

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  12. I've made that banana bread many times and have made the same substitutions. Always comes out perfect. I use small loaf pans so baking time is quicker and don't get the gooey middle. Plus it's nice to give as small gifts. :) That scarf pattern looks kinda familiar so perhaps I've done that stitch before. Not sure. I need to make some quick gifts, so will check it out, and definitely will be doing some easy cross-stitch, too. We have tinted windows here and don't get much sunlight even though we live in the desert, so my houseplants basically survive rather than thrive. My spider plants are really struggling right now and those are usually so easy to grow. Have a good Sunday!

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  13. Your bread looks yummy. Will be fun to see your xstitch progress, love the colors in your hand, very bright and cheery. I've not been a fan of simply soft yarn. I find it splits too easily, but it is soft so for a scarf, probably a good item. Making due here as well, as I'm counting down til spring.
    Sandy's Space

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  14. You have a lot of fun, creative things going. I've been working more on my writing and journaling. I'm finally caught up on my magazines now too, but I need to delve back into books. That banana bread looks good. I like the Cookie and Kate web site, too.

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  15. I think your crochet looks beautiful and the design of your cross stitch is going to be great. Have a good week Jen. Any news of your floor? Jo xx

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  16. Oh that banana bread looks so good.
    I think I have a few Tana French books on my TBR as well.. don't think I've read anything by her as of yet though.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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  17. I've finally had a little catch up and it looks like you're keeping busy and happy. Your ripple blanket is beautiful and this new scarf looks like it will be too. Congrats on the weight loss -- that's wonderful! Although, I must say, I'm wondering how you could loose weight with the food photos you've been posting LOL. This applesauce bread looks delicious! Happy February!!!

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  18. Waving hello as I make my blog rounds.
    Sandy's Space

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    https://powertothegamers.com/2018/05/27/subway-surfers-mod-apk/

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  20. I know what you mean about the magazines at this time of year, I enjoy them more now too. I really like the look of your cross stitch, and it will be a lovely project to take into spring as the days get longer and lighter. I haven't embroidered much for a long time, I feel like I should pick it up again. Hope you are well, my friend.

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