Handsome Knit Men’s Scarf

No-Purl Ribbed Scarf

No-Purl Ribbed Scarf.

I used Merino Superwash so this scarf would be easy to wash and dry.

I used Merino Superwash so this scarf would be easy to wash and dry.

Inspiration piece from pattern posted on Ravely.

Inspiration piece shown with the pattern.

Cartridge Belt Rib

Searching for a handsome, masculine scarf, I found this pattern on Ravelry where credit is given to Purl Soho, a gorgeous yarn shop in Manhattan. This purl-less stitch is known as the Cartridge Belt Rib and is considered a classic stitch pattern. Purl Soho says,

This robust rib stitch produces prominent columns of elongated knit stitches separated by broad valleys of dense texture. The juxtaposition is not only fascinating; it’s beautiful too.

Happy knitting, hon.
MATERIALS:

Suggested on pattern–4 (5) skeins of Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure, 100% alpaca. I used Sueno Worsted by HiKoo’s Merino Superwash, color Evergreen.
US #8 straight or circular needles – 5.0mm

YARDAGE:  436 – 545 yards (399 – 498 m)
GAUGE:  22 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern

FINISHED SCARF SIZE:  8 ½ inches wide x 64 (80) inches long

NOTES:

Slip all slipped stitches purl-wise.

This stitch pattern is worked over a multiple of 4 + 3 stitches.

PATTERN
Cast on 47 stitches.

Row 1: K3, *slip 1 wyif (with yarn in front), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: K1, *slip 1 wyif, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 64 (80) inches from cast on edge or until desired length, ending with Row 2.

Bind off in a k3, p1 rib. Here’s how… K2, slip the first stitch over, k1, slip the first stitch over, *p1, slip the first stitch over, [k1, slip the first stitch over] 3 times, repeat from * to end of row.

Weave in ends and block as desired.

Source: purlsoho.com

 

 

 

Wonder-ful Event

Wonder, a middle-grade novel by R.J. Palacio

Wonder, a middle-grade novel by R.J. Palacio

Event at Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ

Event at Millburn High School in Millburn, NJ

“Choose Kind” in Action and Spirit

On January 24, I was lucky to hear R.J. Palacio speak about her middle-grade novel Wonder, which I had just finished reading. The book has sold over 1.5 million copies since it was published in 2012. The event was sponsored by The Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills and held in Millburn High School’s auditorium. I couldn’t wait to go! (shout out to my SCBWI critique group writers who joined me)

Palacio said:

  1. Becoming a mom led her to rediscover her love of children’s books. (same with me!)
  2. Inspiration for the book came from a “true event” where she hurried her sons away from a little girl who looked like Auggie, the main character in Wonder. She said, “I had blown it” and couldn’t shake the the way she had handled the encounter.
  3. She and her husband made their own trailer for the book, which was considered mid-list and not projected to sell well.
  4. A picture book based on the novel is due out this spring
  5. A movie based on the novel is opening the spring.
  6. Her mom told her, “You’re going to be a writer one day.” (same with me!)

The Ed Foundation’s site says

R.J. Palacio addressed a full house on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 at the Millburn High School discussing how she came up with the idea for her book and how the message of the book has launched an international revolution inspiring all to embrace the theme of choosing kindness everyday.

Over 700 people listened intently to how a book about an ordinary 10-year old boy with a facial deformity resonated with tens of thousands of readers of all ages.

Ms. Palacio passionately spoke to the audience on the virtues of respect, tolerance, and inclusion as a means to heal a world so often divided by cruelty, judgment, and bullying. She shared examples of what students across the country are doing to show empathy and kindness in everyday life.

Click here to see kids actives based on the book.

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Winter puts me in the mood for hearty soups, and this one is practically a meal. Serve it as a soup or over quinoa, brown rice or polenta. Yum.

Happy cooking and stay warm, hon!

ITALIAN STEW with WINTER SQAUSH and CHICKPEAS

3 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups water

2 cups diced peeled butternut squash (I substituted yellow squash)

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced bell peppers (optional)

5 cups chopped kale (see note)

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot on medium-high heat, cook the onions and salt in the oil, stirring often, until very soft and beginning to caramelize, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, coriander, thyme, and black pepper and stir for a minute. Stir in the water, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender but still bright green. Stir in the basil and vinegar.

Note: About 1 pound of kale will yield 5 cups sorted (discard yellow or wilted leaves and large center stems), stemmed, and chopped kale.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings or about 8 cups

Astonishing Animation & Interview with Morgan Gruer

Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.

Me and Morgan in Bologna, Italy.

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Morgan studying and sketching the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

Over 91,000 views! 

That’s how many times Morgan’s animated video, Reflections, has been viewed (so far) since it was featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick. I’m so proud of Morgan, a Pratt Institute student and my talented, ambitious daughter.

The Creator’s Project on Vice.com featured Reflections. Nathaniel Ainley had this to say:

The ephemeral nature of love is captured on-screen in a stunning 2D animation built from a collection of 1,100 individual drawings. Reflections is the expressive, impressive abstract short, and it follows a fleeting relationship between a young couple.

As the the video begins to build the girl starts to question whether the man ever existed or if it was all in her head. Her deliberation is expressed through a series of arm swinging interpretive dance accompanied with explosive graphics and patterns.

Reflections was directed, animated, and edited by Morgan Gruer, a multidisciplinary graphic designer and illustrator who’s done work for heavy hitters like Celine Dion and Gatorade.

In this particular film, the Brooklyn-based artist is careful about her use of color, telling the bulk of the story through gray and black lines. Since color is used so sparingly, however, when it appears, it makes that much more of an impact.

Cheryl Eddy of io9 on the website Gizmodo.com titled her article about the video “Lush 2D Animated Film Reflections Examines the Many Stages of Heartbreak.”

Morgan shares thoughts about her work and insights into the process.

BE:  What was the initial inspiration for Reflections?

MG:  I saw the music video for Breakbot’s song “Baby, I’m Yours,” which is composed entirely of watercolors, and wanted to create something like it. Concept-wise, I was reflecting upon all of my past relationships.

BE:  What themes did you have in mind as you worked on your piece?

MG:  One of the main themes is independence; at the end of the animation the main character walks away alone but stronger.

BE:  Can you explain a little about your process? For example, do you plan it all ahead of time or does it develop as you go along?

MG:  I wrote out the story line and asked some friends to write the music for me loosely based on the concept. Even though the story came before the music, I left the musicians room to express my story line. The plot had an overall beginning, middle and end, but I worked out the in-between parts and loose threads while I was working.

BE:  How did you keep track of 1100 separate digital drawings?

MG:  I compiled each digital drawing in the Timeline Tab of Photo Shop, making it easy to label layers and keep track of everything. I established the frame rate ahead of time.

BE:  How long did the project take you from start to finish?

MG:  Reflections took four months from concept to creation, although I was working on it alongside other projects.

BE:  How do you feel about the finished video?

MG:  I am mostly happy with it, but still see things I would have fixed. At some point, you have to call it done because there are always things you could edit. An artist is always her own worst critic and sees things that need tweaking.

BE:  Are you surprised by the attention its gotten?

MG:  It’s great to get positive feedback and nice to receive validation on a project that hadn’t seen the light of day. It’s exciting that other people relate to my work and appreciate its aesthetic.

Hon, if you haven’t watched it yet, here’s another link to Reflections.

 

Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Nephew trying on his Holiday gift.

Nephew wearing his Holiday gift.

Despite its name, I worried this scarf wasn’t manly enough. Maybe it was the yarn or maybe it was the stitch, but I wondered, “Does this scarf look masculine?” I wasn’t convinced until Hubby tried it on. Yay! It looked great, and was ready to be wrapped as a gift for my nephew.

Happy knitting, hon!

Manly Scarf

Stitches are cast on for the entire length of the scarf, which is knit from side to side on a circular needle. Tip: Place stitch markers every 20 stitches (or however many stitches you like). This makes keeping track of the total stitches much easier. 

Yarn: The yarn used in the pattern on Ravelry was Manos del Uruguay Handspun Semi Solids, skein of 100g: 138 yards/126 m

4-5 skeins of main color

1-2 skeins of contrast color

Needles:  One US 10 (6mm) circular needle (as long as possible). Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  Stitch markers. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge: 

In stockinette stitch, 10 cm/4 inches = 14-18 stitches

In pattern stitch, 10 cm/ 4 inches = 10-12 stitches

Pattern Stitch

Row 1:  Knit all stitches.

Row 2:  Knit 2 together to end.

Row 3:  Knit into front and back of every stitch.

Row 4:  Purl all stitches.

Directions:

Cast on 250 stitches. Work in pattern stitch until scarf has desired width. The stripe pattern is 3 pattern repeats in the main color, then one in the contrast color like this:

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

Cast off.

Notes:  Click the link under Source to see the original pattern, where the author of the pattern explains how to substitute the yarn. I used a different yarn than the one shown on Ravelry and since–gasp–I detest making swatches, I winged it, casting 250 sts and knitting to a width and length I thought looked good on a guy. (I know, very scientific!)

Source: Ravelry, pattern by Johanna K Sarten

 

New Year’s Resolution

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Painterly landscape of the Rahway River in the South Mountain Reservation, New Jersey.

In 2017 let us remember

that with one departure

there is an arrival,

that following every before

there comes an after

and that the moments that 

seem utterly minor

will undoubtedly add up to 

something major.

This year is just like any other.

The only difference is 

what you decide to make of it.

 

Source: Tiffany & Co. Jan. 1, 2017

Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Pureed Bean and Vegetable Soup

Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Lucky me! One of my daughters made this thick and hearty soup and there was enough for me to have seconds…and thirds. She said that despite the many ingredients, it’s easy to make. Simple and delicious soup are perfect for a cold, winter’s day.

Keep warm, hon.

PURÉE of BEAN and VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can peas and carrots, drained

1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn niblets, drained

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cups water

1 cup liquid non-dairy creamer

4 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons vegetable soup mix or vegetable bouillon

4 frozen crushed garlic cubes or 4 medium garlic cloves

spices to taste (salt, pepper and whatever else you think will add to the flavor)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, taking care not to overload the blender. Blend in batches if necessary.
  2. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart stockpot, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Add spices and simmer for a few more minutes.
  4. Serve warm, or refrigerate overnight and serve cold as a bean dip.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Source: Quick and Kosher, Recipes From The Bride who Knew Nothing by Jamie Geller

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.

 

DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Go from this…

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to this…

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in four easy steps!

Four-Step Favors

Need a quick and easy idea for favors, goodie bags or stocking stuffers? These sweet-n-salty snacks are so yummy, my family couldn’t wait to eat the duds and broken pieces.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

pretzel logs

chocolate discs (click here to see Wilton’s Candy Melts)

sprinkles, cookies to crush and/or sparkly sugar

wax or parchment paper

Prep:

Pour sprinkles into pans with sides. I used several 9″ x 11″ dishes for different sprinkles. Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry.

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave according to package directions. I used several flavors and melted one flavor at a time. (Tip. I microwaved the discs a little less time than recommended and stirred to finish melting the discs. Over doing it in the microwave causes the chocolate to get “sandy” and then it’s not usable.)
  2. Spoon melted chocolate over half a pretzel log.
  3. Immediately either roll the chocolate part in the sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby. I ended up spooning decorations on top of chocolate.
  4. Line pretzels up on baking dish to dry. Drizzle melted chocolate over the bare half of the pretzel.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Since I made these at night, I refrigerated them overnight (although they’d probably be fine in an hour) and wrapped them the next morning.

Melt chocolate in microwave.

1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave.

Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel, then spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

2. Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel.  3. Spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

4. Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sparkly sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

4 continued. Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were such a hit, I’ll definitely be making them again!

Happy Holidays, hon!

Warm and Cozy Knit Infinity Scarf

Honey Cowl.

Honey Cowl.

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I made this Infinity Scarf, called a “Honey Cowl,” last year and wanted to knit it again. This time, I followed the pattern for the shorter version. The Simplicity yarn color “49 Shades of Gray” has a hint of mint green and is a Merino wool blend. It was a pleasure to work with.

Happy knitting, hon.

Infinity Scarf, Honeycomb Cowl

Finished Measurements:  22 inches in length by 12 inches in width for short version (44 inches in length by 12 inches in width for longer version)

Yarn:  55% Merino Superwash merino, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 140 yards (128 meters), 2 (4) skeins (double check amount of yarn needed depending on type of yarn and yardage.)

Needles:  One US 8 (5.0mm) 26″ (66 cm) circular needle for short version or One US 8 (5.0 mm) 36″ (91 cm) circular needle for longer version.  Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  One stitch marker for beginning of round. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:  5 sts = 1 inch (10 cm) in honeycomb pattern.

Notes:  For an in-between size, 1 skein and 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 8 inch wide cowl.  2 skeins at 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 16 inch wide cowl.

Pattern Stitch:  Slip Stitch Honeycomb

Note:  When working rounds 2 and 4, slip as if to purl and keep yarn in front)

Round 1:  Knit

Round 2:  *Purl 1, slip 1 wyif* repeat across round

Round 3:  Knit

Round 4:  *Slip 1 wyif, Purl 1* repeat across round

Directions:

Cast on 110 (220) stitches.  Being careful not to twist stitches, place marker and join for working in the round.  Knit 4 rounds.

Repeat the 4 rounds of “Slip Stitch Honeycomb Pattern” above until work measures approximately 11 inches.  Make sure that you have enough yarn left over for the following:  Knit 3 rounds and bind off loosely.

Source:  Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/honey-cowl/people

 

Time for Pie (Gluten Free Dough)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Inspiration Photo.

Inspiration Photo.

Do you need a good gluten free dough recipe? 

This gluten free pastry dough recipe can be used for pie, quiche or other baked goods.  In this post, you’ll find ingredients and directions for making an Apple Pie as well as a link to a How To video I posted on You Tube.

Raw gluten free pastry dough doesn’t have the same sweet, buttery scent of regular dough but, once baked, the crust is flaky and delicious. Trust me, when this is served, there are no leftovers!

Happy baking, hon.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

Click HERE to watch–Ta Dah!–my second, and short, How To Video.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough Ingredients

3 2/3 cups gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 stick butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

2.  Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

3.  To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.  On a gluten free floured surface, divide the dough in two and roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line the pie plate and one to go on top of the pie. Line the pie plate with one of the pasty circles and add the apple filling.

5.  Add the second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp the edges of the pasty all the way around. Pierce the pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking.

6.  Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.