Adventures in Dyeing

Earlier this year I made a long sleeve t-shirt.

shirt

There were some things I liked about the shirt (the construction and finishing details) and some things I didn’t (the colour and fit, since I didn’t measure before choosing a pattern size). Since then either the fit has relaxed or I have lost weight (or both) and I’m much happier with the look. Still, I’m not a huge fan of navy blue. I blame it on the uniforms I had to wear in high school. So I went to the store, bought black dye, and dyed my shirt.

So the lesson is: if you don’t like the colour of your clothes, dye them. Dyes these days are easy to find and easy to use, practically foolproof (as long as you get the right kind of dye for the fiber content of your fabric). You will be so much happier with the clothes you have and more likely to wear them.

Recipe: Chicken Everything Soup

It’s beginning to be fall and that means soup! I love how warm and cozy a bowl of hearty soup makes me feel. Sometimes I don’t have the exact ingredients a recipe calls for, though, so I’ve made a recipe of my own based on what I had on hand. It can’t be that hard, right?

soup1

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 c dried black eyed peas

1/2 yellow onion, diced

4 Tbsp bacon grease

1/4 c all purpose flour

2 chicken breasts

3 c mixed vegetables

4 c chicken broth

1-2 c milk or half and half

Salt and Pepper to taste

soup2

Directions: 

The night before you make your soup (or the morning of), place your dried peas in a pan and cover them with 2″ of water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add more water, and let sit overnight.

Trim the chicken of any excess fat and cut into 1″ cubes. Place in a pot of boiling water, and boil for a few minutes until cooked. Meanwhile, add diced onion and bacon fat to a large stock pot and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Add chicken broth, milk, mixed vegetables, drained peas, and chicken. Season to taste. Cook the soup until broth is hot and vegetables are soft – about 20-30 minutes.

Serve as is or with some hot crusty bread.

soup

Thoughts:

  • You could easily substitute pinto beans or a bag of mixed beans in this recipe. If you are in a time crunch, canned beans work well also.
  • I used a mixed bag of frozen carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion from the store because I didn’t want to spend my whole life peeling carrots. This soup would be even better with fresh vegetables, and you can use just about anything you have laying around.
  • If you don’t have bacon fat you can substitute lard or butter, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  • Canned chicken would work in a pinch, and a rotisserie chicken would be easy and add a lot of good flavor.

 

Our Visit to Biltmore House

Biltmore Facade

For our anniversary my husband and I visited Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. We started by touring the gardens, and, Oh! They were beautiful!

garden1

fish

bridge

crazy tree

painting the roses red

There was even a space set up for a wedding!

venue

The following morning we toured the house. Talk about grand! The house is enormous and preserved incredibly well.

Piano

Please can I have this library?

library

I’d also love this kitchen! All those copper pots and pans….

copper pots

And the ceilings are simply gorgeous!

As you can see, we had a marvelous time!

Paper

This past Tuesday was my first wedding anniversary. I’ve been trying all week to figure out what to write about it, but how do you sum up a relationship in a few words?

selfie

The traditional gift for the first anniversary is paper. Paper is fragile. It is easy to crumple up or tear. It doesn’t last long. But paper combined with ink leads to communication and knowledge and learning and remembering. Treaties and alliances and constitutions were all written on paper. My wedding vows are written on paper.

You have taught me that two people joined together with respect, trust, and open communication can be far stronger and happier than each could ever be alone. You are the strength I didn’t know I needed and the joy I didn’t know I lacked. Today I choose to spend the rest of my life with you. I promise to love you for who you are and for who you are yet to become. I promise to be patient and to remember that
all things between us are rooted in love. I promise to nurture your dreams and to help you reach them. I promise to share my whole heart with you and to remember to show you how deeply I care for you, no matter the challenges that may come our way. I promise to love you loyally and fiercely for as long as I shall live.

My marriage is still so new. In many ways it is fragile and breakable. But I look forward to learning more about my husband, to communicating through our differences, and to remembering all the wonderful times we have had together.

sharpie

Goodies

I love shopping. There, I said it. Whether online or in person, I just love shopping. I love the possibilities (this is also what I love about knitting patterns and my stash). So when I won a gift card I started planning what I wanted to buy with my “free money.” Feast your eyes on this goodness.

goodies

Several months ago I saw a tiny beaded green dragon knitting stitch marker in The Corner of Craft shop. I wasn’t quick enough to snag it at the time, but I kept my eyes open for more. Green is my favourite colour, and my college sorority was the Dragons, so this is the perfect stitch marker for me. I also love how it is flexible, so it conforms to my hand as I knit. Isn’t it just adorable!?

dragon

Silk Road Socks is the most recent of Hunter Hammersen’s publications, and oh, is it beautiful! The book starts off with the rugs that inspired the socks and the history behind them. Some of the most beautiful sock patterns that you will ever see follow. I want to knit almost all of them! Hunter includes instructions in 3 sizes and 2 weights of yarn, so you can make these socks for pretty much any adult.

silk road socks

Pardon me while I start some socks.

Introverts of the World Unite!

I am an introvert. I like listening to the quiet around me and being alone or with just a few friends. I have a fear that I will totally mess up interpersonal moments – especially with strangers – so I rehearse imagined conversations a lot.

***

Yesterday I was at the bookstore. I had ordered a London Fog and browsed through the stacks. I had quite a lovely time. I made my selections and walked up to the cash register for *cue scary music* HUMAN INTERACTION!!!

The cashier looked like a nice person. “Hey, what’s up?” She asked.

Genius that I am, I replied, ” Good thanks.”

A moment of awkward silence followed. I decided to acknowledge the elephant in the room: “That’s completely not what you asked.”

At this point the cashier started to laugh. So I added, “Introverts of the world unite!”

She giggled harder and then added, ” From the safety of our own homes.”

We both chuckled as she rang up my book, and as I left she wished me a happy time “safe at home.”

***

I used to be good at talking to people. Or at least I didn’t make a fool of myself. Next time I’m making my husband check out for me.