Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday brought a three-person birthday celebration, as well as a farewell dinner for my sister-in-law J, as she is moving to Shreveport, LA to be with C, her one and only. The drive is a hefty 10 hours a day over two days through heart attack-inducing roadways, and I do not envy them at all! I decided to bake J and C a batch of good ol' chocolate chip cookies to help make the trip a little more enjoyable. The recipe came to me in a Martha Stewart Cookie of the Day e-mail, and I just HAD to try it because it is a Jacques Torres (my TV husband) recipe.

I used the smaller ice cream scoop for the cookies, and was able to make exactly 61 cookies. 61 of the best looking and tasting chocolate chip cookies I've made so far!

The cookies are substantial, chewy, and taste wonderful. I think this recipe will definitely surface again for future care packages!

Jacques Torres's Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies (from the Martha Stewart website, click on link to see a video)

1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds Jacques Torres House (60 percent cocoa) Chocolate or other best-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Friday, May 28, 2010

Knit Picks order has arrived!

I'd like to thank everyone for the wonderful anniversary wishes. We had a wonderful day, and are looking forward to many more anniversaries to come.

When we got home, I found two packages waiting for me by the door. My Knit Picks order has arrived! This includes the Blocking Mat I posted about earlier and a few yarns.

I will post pictures of the Citron shawlette I blocked last night, but the light in our office has been so bad because of the storms we have been experiencing. Anyway, I love this mat--it gives such flexibility to add and remove panels as you see fit, even in the middle of blocking.

As for the yarn, I am uber excited! I have never ordered yarns online before because I am such a tactile person and a stickler for squishiness, but  I've heard so many wonderful things about Knit Picks yarns that I thought I'd take a chance. Plus, with their great pricing, I didn't feel like I had much to lose.

I ended up ordering the Shine Sport Yarn, because I am a sucker for modal. I was really pleased when I received the yarns--the colors matched the swatches on the websites pretty well, and while the yarn definitely had that absorbent feeling cotton has, it is very soft and has a wonderful silk-like sheen to it.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. I'll post pictures of the knitted gift I hinted at a few days ago and my shawlette soon. Have a happy 3-day weekend, everyone!

Colors pictured (L-R): Bison, Blush, Green Apple

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Today is my husband's and my fourth anniversary.

We are going to Maggiano's tonight (the destination of our first meal on our own as a married couple), where we will eat until our bellies explode. Linguine and clams, here I come!

Happy anniversary, sweetheart! I can't wait to spend another 4, 40, 400, etc. years with you. <3

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crochet FAIL, Baby robin love.

Last night, I started crocheting a potholder with some cotton my sister-in-law gave me, as she is moving this week and I thought it might be nice to make her a few homey things for her new digs. I haven't crocheted in three years, but how bad could a potholder be?

Turns out the pattern I dug up was faulty, so I ended up going on the internet to try and find a similar pattern. While I didn't find exactly what I wanted, I ran across and fell in love with Interweave's Chanson en Crochet by Mari Lynn Patrick. This is reason enough for me to dust off my hooks and hone in my crochet skills. I love the mixture of textures and patterns Mari Lynn uses, and most of all how it doesn't seem matronly in the least. Best of all, it's free!

Photo from
On the cute front, I've been so fixated with the return of the Canadian Geese that I forgot about all the baby robins that crop up around this time. Upon returning from work yesterday, I spotted from afar what I thought was a sick bird wedged in the vee of two tree branches. I went closer to see if the poor bird was injured, and soon realized that it was a fledgling waiting for its mother!


To get a scale of how small this baby was.

Cheeping quizzically 

Look at that stubby baby tail!

Settling down 

Butt fuzz! Oh the butt fuzz!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Geek Pride Day!

Happy Geek Pride Day, all! Read about all the Rights and Responsibilities of Geekdom here. I'm not sure how I'm planning on celebrating, but it will probably involve some Carl Sagan and/or Star Trek with my husband and fellow Geek.

After months of trying to make do without, I have finally ordered a blocking board. I'm really excited about this because instead of coming in a large square or rectangle, the kit is composed of 9 12-inch squares that can be puzzled together into the size you need, or an odd shape your project may require. Knit Picks sells this mat at a very reasonable price, and I can't wait to report on it! I already have a shriveled up project to test out.

 Knit Picks Blocking Mats, $19.99 plus s&h 

In other news, I think I spotted the same pair of geese I blogged about earlier again today. I'm hoping they aren't planning a nest in the near vicinity, as my workplace has the habit of stealing their eggs and destroying their nests. Here they are, relaxing after a morning of foraging:

I would have taken a better photo of them, but I didn't want to disturb them from their siesta.

On the topic of water birds (great segue, huh?): Please go and donate to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research. They've been helping clean up oiled animals since the oil spill in the gulf, and would appreciate either volunteers or donations. Did you know that the brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird, was just taken off the endangered species list? Go to that website and see how you can help, and what you can do to keep them from getting back on!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Store Review: Wendy's Knit Shop

A hunt for the elusive 4" size 2-8 HiyaHiya interchangeable needle set took us out of our suburban surroundings and on into a lovely country drive over the Potomac to Brunswick, MD. Our destination was Wendy's Knit Shop. At first, I wasn't sure what to expect out of a knitting store in such a small town--I knew it was either going to be a gem or one of those questionable stores with a small selection of yarns and notions and several dozen baggy applique sweaters in the window display. But, as a vendor of HiyaHiya, how bad could they be?

I am pleased to say that Wendy's Knit Shop is definitely gem of a store. Located in a great Old Town/Downtown looking area (complete with railroad museum), the store carries yarns from Red Heart acrylics to Berocco to socially conscious Frog Tree Yarns. My favorite part of the yarn selection was their section of locally grown, spun, and dyed yarns, most notably those of Alpacas of Maryland. There were local wools, as well as a  large assortment of alpaca yarns, and cashmere blend yarns, soft and silky to the touch. I couldn't resist walking out with  two hanks of plush, irresistibly smooshable alpaca in aqua and a smoky charcoal (both from Alpacas of Maryland).

For spinners, 4 oz. bags of rovings are available.

The shop is run by two sisters, and the service was great. When I called to inquire about the HiyaHiya interchangeable needles, I was greeted jovially and the person at the end of the line even hand-measured the needles to ensure that I was getting what I wanted. Upon arrival, I met both sisters and was asked if I needed any help, but was not taken away from my browsing by too many offers of help or suggestions on what I might want to buy for x, y, or z project. When I did have questions, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. At the end of my visit, my yarn was wound for free (a service offered by many stores, but not always made obvious like it was here), which is always appreciated.

So, if you're in the area or even if you're not, make sure to stop by Wendy's Knit Shop for a personalized and satisfying experience.

 Wendy's Knit Shop
Open Wednesday through Monday (see website for hours)
17 W Potomac St.
Brunswick, MD 21716
(240) 457-0410

Sunday, May 23, 2010


In the works for a birthday celebration coming up this Friday.....

Stay tuned for finished results!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Progress on Stella

Sorry about the poor image quality. My camera's been strangely missing these past few days and I've only had my cell phone to rely on.

Stella is really starting to gain some momentum. I'm still making the same absentminded mistakes, but finally creeping toward the finish line.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday odds and ends, and a free pattern!

On my way back from running some errands on campus this morning, I found this happy little pair nibbling on grass at the side of the library:

The geese are back! They are an annoyance to some, but to me, they mean only one thing: goslings! (Or, "goose babies", as I am apt to calling them when I am overly excited)

The excitement doesn't stop here: tonight, I am going to Jaleo to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday with a few other people. I've been wanting to try Jaleo for a while now, so expect some poorly photographed food pictures sometime in the next few days. Something tells me that there will be even bigger surprises than yummy tapas and free drinks in store for my sis-in-law tonight. Just a hunch.......

And speaking of food, have you seen Everybody Likes Sandwiches? I was browsing through these shortly before dinnertime the other day, which was probably a bad idea. Venture on over on a full stomach....or an empty one for tasty food ideas.

Last but not least, a free pattern. Twist Collective has posted a pattern of the Cabled Beret:

Photo from

Scroll to the very bottom of the blog entry for the link to the .pdf file. It seems like the giveaway they were also holding is over now, but with a free pattern for such a lovely hat, I think everyone wins.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amy Butler Giveaway!

Head on over to one of my favorite bloggers' sites, Never Not Knitting for a great Amy Butler giveaway. Those of you who are familiar with Amy Butler know how wonderful her patterns, fabrics, and home decor products are.

Giveaway includes: Amy Butler's new Book, Midwest Modern Knits, and two skeins of Rowan by Amy Butler Belle Organic in dk and aran weights in a beautiful blue. The giveaway ends June 1.

Go for the giveaway, and stay to see all of Alana's beautiful designs and insightful posts. She even has a podcast!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Meet Stella:

Stella is supposed to be a light summer scarf for me to wear in the office when it is too cold, or to punch up an otherwise "blah" outfit. It is knitted from Sirdar's "Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK", a soft bamboo/wool blend that I am just in love with. I mean really--I love this yarn. I would write more, but I'm planning on writing up a full review of the yarn later.

I found the pattern in Bev Galeska's Luxury One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences , and I've been working on it since March. My original intention was to plow through it and finish it quickly, but there are oh so many knitted gifts I wanted to get out to people for their birthdays and special events that I just kept this project in my laptop bag as a "waiting for the doctor" type of project. Presently, the scarf is about a third of the way finished, but I'm becoming impatient with the lack of progress I've been making with it.

The pattern itself is short and quick to memorize, but also dangerous for that very fact. Finding myself too immersed in conversation or a television program to notice that the lace pattern is a couple stitches off happens more often than I would like, so I am forever going back to fix mistakes and re-count my stitches. Thankfully, the yarn takes well to my mental clumsiness and frogging, but again, more on that in another post.

Happy Birthday!

Today is a wonderful day! My lovely sister is celebrating her birthday, and I couldn't be happier that she was born.

She is one of the funniest, goofiest, most creative people I know, and a world-class wife and mother to boot. I hope to be half the person she is, because if I am, then I know I've done well in life.

Happy birthday, N.!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Obligatory Introduction Post

"Sure...I gotcha. New York, third-wave feminist, college-educated, single and pretending to be happy about it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover, and every two years you take up knitting for... a week." --Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock

Though less than half of that quote describes me, the first time I heard it, I had to chuckle at the knitting part. I am not the traditional lifelong knitter--my mother taught me to knit and purl when I was 12, but I never made anything beyond the basic chunky scarf or practice square. The basement is littered with dozens of half-projects, dusty and still on their needles, birthday and Christmas gifts gone awry. College brought me a few months of renewed interest: some of my fraternity sisters were the unfortunate recipients of too-short scarves and ill-fitting hats, all mercifully received with smiles and encouragement. By the end of that winter back to knitting, the needles were once again banished to the basement and to the back of my closet, patiently waiting until I had another short spurt of inspiration.

I expected no differently this past winter when I decided to make a simple, chunky cowl for the unusually harsh winter the D.C. area was experiencing. But somehow, here I am, barrelling full-force into the thick heat of summer, experimenting with new yarns, planning out my first sweater--still knitting with every free moment I find.

I don't really know what I am planning for this blog yet--maybe it will flop like every other attempt I've made to record anything in my life, or maybe it will grow into something unexpected. Who knows. Either way, here I go....