June 2, 2012

Pop cobbler and lots of other stuff and news and things

Okay I’m going to jump around a bit since I’ve been gone for awhile (from here, busy times) – first, I’m extending the raffle for the Remixed knit-a-long by a few days.  I’ll be picking winners on Monday night or Tuesday morning, so you have till then to get any Remixed projects you’ve made up on ravelry (with photos) to enter the giveaway! (More in the rav forums here.)  If you’re late to the KAL and just starting a project now, that’s okay, the rav project photos can be in-progress and you’ll still be entered in the raffle!

twitter mystery KAL section 1

Speaking of knit-a-longs, there are some changes to the twitter mystery KAL; it is now going on a bit longer, ending on July 6th.  Section 2 still ends on June 26th, but now I’ll be giving you some options via tweets for what to do after that and there will be some new repeat rows tweeted daily, with the whole thing coming to an end after a couple more sections of those repeat options.  The free pdf will be released at that point, once the tweets are all out.  Above and below are some somewhat mysterious photos, but you can check in with the ravelry group weekly threads (or my flickr stream) to see weekly progress photos – we’re now a bit into section 2 so you can get an idea of how the construction is working.

twitter mystery KAL section 1

Yesterday, June 1st, marked an exciting anniversary for me – 4 years since leaving my day job to be self-employed full time!  (Well, May 27th actually, but I always think of it as June 1st being the self-employment mark.)  Since my high school and college graduations happened after 4 years, and I worked day jobs out of college for exactly 4 years, I kind of feel like I’ve graduated from my self-employment struggling trial period or something, like it’s really official now and I’m beginning the next stage of my life where hopefully this whole career thing just keeps getting better!  Yay!

easy cobbler

Another fun thing, though completely off in a different direction… we had a couple friends over last night so I decided to try out this insane recipe (found via pinterest), mostly out of intense curiosity.  It totally worked!  For my version, I used 1 bag of frozen strawberries and 1 bag of frozen blueberries, white cake mix, and ginger ale.  We ate it with some Tillamook ice cream on top:

easy cobbler

We want to try it with different experimental variations – I think our next attempt will be with apple slices, spice cake mix, and Dr. Pepper!  (Pete’s idea)  And next time I think I’ll stir it up just a little so that all the cake mix gets wet – the recipe blog post warns “If you stir the two, you will have a cake like topping” but that sounds pretty good to me!

a squirrel friend!

I took some photos of a squirrel in our front yard, and I thought you might like to see them.  Speaking of photos, I just finally finished going through and editing over 800 photos I took over our 2 day trip up north 2 months ago (they’re not all flickr’d yet), so you can expect a blog post about that soooon!  The main thing I’ve been working on for the last month or so is my new website – leethalknits.com – which will be the place you can find all my knitting patterns, organized and separated from everything else leethal.  I feel like leethal.net is getting cluttered and needs to be redone a bit, so this new site is the first step, then I’ll be fixing up leethal.net to be more representative of what I’m doing now.  So that’s that plan.

a squirrel friend!

A couple other things… I am going to be teaching at Knit Fit! in Seattle in November, along with many other awesome teachers and I’m super excited about it!  If you’re anywhere near Seattle, I hope you can make it; you can follow the Knit Fit! blog to learn more about everyone involved and stuff.  I may be doing another fun thing besides teaching… still a secret for now, but it might be awesome!

A little while back I was interviewed for Knitters Rumble blog, so you can read that if you’re interested.  I’ve been tumbling a few things lately, like movies and records, so when I’m absent from this blog, at least there’s that… I do have several posts planned for here… anyone want to give me extra hours in the day so I can do all I want/need to do?  Damn time!  Anyway, one thing at a time, and for now I’m going to try to get this new website done, then move on to the next things… So for now, keep on doing stuff!  And happy knitting!

Filed under: contest/giveaway,knit-a-longs,knitting,random stuff,recipes — leethal @ 3:41 pm

September 23, 2011

Food adventures from my garden!

Now that food-growing season is coming to an end here in Portland, I want to share with you the goodness that came from my yard this year!  My most favorite thing is that the cucumbers were successful, and I tried making pickles for the first time!

refrigerator pickles!

This was my first harvest, in August – 2 pounds, which was exactly the amount needed for one batch of this refrigerator dill pickles recipe.

first cucumber harvest

So I went shopping, got a giant bunch of fresh dill, and went to work making pickles.  It was pretty darn quick and easy – definitely the most time-consuming part was picking and washing and chopping all the dill.

refrigerator pickles!

And then, the next afternoon, bam!  Pickles!  And oh my goodness, there were delicious!!  I highly recommend trying refrigerator pickles if you are intrigued by the concept (and like pickles) but don’t want to get into all the canning stuff.  The only thing is, you have to eat them within about 2 weeks… but that’s not a problem for us – yumyumyum!

refrigerator pickles!

I was so excited about making my first batch of pickles, I made an iPad comic to celebrate!  hehe

my first pickles!

My second batch of cucumbers was ready for picking a few days ago, and while it wasn’t quite as many as the first, and there were a couple bitsy ones, this was the first time my garden grew a big, long cucumber that actually looked like a cucumber!  This harvest ended up being just about exactly 2 pounds as well, perfect for another batch of pickles!  Yay!

second cucumber harvest spicy refrigerator pickles!

This time, I got experimental.  I used the same recipe as a starting point, but I decided to try making spicy pickles!  I added 4 jalepeños and 3 serrano peppers, all sliced.  I used a package of fresh dill instead of a straight-from-the-farm bundle, to make it easier, and this time I didn’t chop the dill at all.  The other major difference was that I cut the cucumbers into spears instead of slices.  I did everything else identical to the recipe.

The result… is SPICY!  But delicious!  I am a bit of a wimp with spice; I like spicy foods, but only medium-ish level.  These, I can just barely handle, with water.  Next time, I think I’ll try them with just the jalapeños, or with only 1 serrano and 3 jalapeños or something like that.  After sitting overnight, when I jarred them up, I put together one jar with hardly any peppers in it, and the other with lots of them, so as they sit longer, the one will probably get hotter and the other jarful with probably stay the same.  Anyway, definitely a successful food experiment!!

spicy refrigerator pickles!

Moving on to other gardeny goodness… eggplants!  The plant seemed pretty healthy all season, getting bigger and leafier and bushier, and growing lots of lots of flowers… most of which died and fell off.  I only actually got 2 eggplants, but they were very exciting!  Something about walking into my backyard, and then coming back inside with an eggplant in my hand… it’s just cool.  (I’m still very new to this whole gardening thing!)

garden eggplant garden eggplant

The first one was made into one of Pete’s and my favorite treats – eggplant fries!  Yummmm!  There are lots of recipes out there for these – this is the one I use.  All I have is a silly iPad photo I took while they were still on the baking sheet, because then I had to nomnomnom and couldn’t be bothered with taking a decent photo:

eggplant fries!

And then the second eggplant turned into my dinner last night – cooked together with tofu, a few fresh garden tomatoes, and some garlic chives.  Add a bit of sweet red chili sauce and sriracha, and yummmmy!

eggplant tofu dinner eggplant tofu dinner

The tomatoes have been awesome, of course!  The Sweet 100’s are definitely the yummiest… the Juliets have been growing huge (bigger and rounder than they’re supposed to be), but the flavor is kinda blah.  Not bad, just not very flavorful.  So I don’t think I’ll do those again.  The Early Girls have mostly been growing pretty small; this first one I picked, in the photo, was the biggest by far, but they are yummy and great on sandwiches and stuff.  I made this salad one day with some of all 3 types, goat cheese, and a basic homemade balsamic vinaigrette – it was ohmygosh so good!

first big tomato! tomato-tastic salad!

There have been a few strawberries here and there, but mostly those haven’t been doing great this year.  The lettuce all died (I think because I planted it way too close together) and the basil died (I think because I picked off too many leaves for dinner one night).  Overall, good garden year for me, better than last year for sure.  Yummm yard-fresh veggies!

Filed under: home stuff,recipes — leethal @ 2:38 pm

June 2, 2011

Fancy Pantsy Frozen Waffles!

I’m back in town, and have yet to go through road trip photos and stuff, so in an effort to give you some content and make this blog something worth checking in on… here’s something yummy you can make!

frozen waffle breakfast

There are surely endless possibilities using this concept, but here are 3 variations I made and photographed.  Make some frozen toaster waffles – I use the multigrain type to pretend I’m being healthy – and go through your kitchen to find a combination of ingredients to bury the waffles under!

frozen waffle breakfast

Up top: peanut butter spread on the waffles, banana sliced over them, granola sprinkled on top, then honey drizzled over the whole thing.

Above: peanut butter spread on one waffle, banana slices spread over it, second waffle placed over that, jam spread over that one, then topped with some granola.

Below: mandarin orange slices spread over 2 waffles, greek yogurt poured over it all, and plenty of granola sprinkled on top.

frozen waffle breakfast

As you can see, I like adding granola to pretty much any fancy waffle creation, for that crunch texture factor – always a good thing!  If you want to eat your meal on the go, make something like the middle one, but with all ingredients on the inside to make it a sandwich.

Writing about my frozen waffle concoctions reminded me of a waffle variety Pete got at a waffle cart on N Mississippi – waffle grilled cheese!  It was delicious, so you can take that idea and expand your frozen waffle concepts beyond the sweet and fruity and into the savory… some ideas can be found on that post I linked to (like “savory waffled topped with cream cheese, spinach, tomato, chives and two eggs over easy”).  Don’t know how those kinds of combinations will translate to frozen waffles, but… worth a try?

Ok this is a weird blog post, but I’m trying to post more often, so there you go!  Eat some yummy foods, and I’ll be here working on my last quick knits ebook all weekend.  And maybe also spending way too much time on my current obsession – cataloging and organizing my record collection!  I got some rad new vinyl on our trip, and I rekindled my vinyl love, so I’ve become completely taken over with entering all my records into a google doc spreadsheet because I am a supernerd.  It’s too much fun!  I’ll manage to get that ebook done, somehow…..

Filed under: recipes — leethal @ 7:58 pm

May 11, 2011

May’s quick knits club ebook: Eat!

It may not feel like spring here yet, but I’m already daydreaming about growing some food in my yard this year and cooking up some awesome fresh veggie-filled meals!  So, this month is all about food!  An eating-utensil-holder for picnicking or any other portable eating needs, a coaster or potholder depending on what size you make it, an apron made from a recycled shirt, and a little zine I made to share with you meatless things I like to make on my George Foreman grill…

May's club ebook cover

My favorite thing about the patterns this month is that both of them are completely modular, not even requiring so much as a picked up stitch!  No sewing or seaming of any kind, no breaking yarn partway through, etc.  When you’re done knitting, it’s done!

may's club - eat!

This Picnic Wrapper pattern has you start at one i-cord tip, work through the entire pattern, close up the side with a 3-needle bind-off as you work, then end at the tip of the other i-cord!  It works in a way that holds in whatever utensils, napkins, etc that you need to carry, grasping them in there securely with a pocket and one i-cord tie on the inside, then the flap side wraps around the whole thing and ties around into a convenient little bundle:

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The Blocky Coaster/Potholder pattern is a log-cabin-ish design, which will give you a different look if you choose to switch solid color yarns (like my potholder) or use one self-striping yarn for the whole thing (like my coaster).

may's club - eat!

The coaster is the official “quick knit” version, using approx 15 yards of worsted weight, and the potholder uses much more.  The pattern is given in 3 forms: worsted weight coaster and worsted weight potholder, like the 2 samples, and any-gauge/any-size, written with variables and some very basic math.

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The square is felted (/fulled) to thicken it up, and smooth out the bumps.  It’s knit up using lots of simple short rows – if you’ve made a Betiko, it’ll be very familiar to you.  Sideways edge cast-ons along the sides of the first few sections, then sideways edge bind-offs for the two thick side sections, all in garter stitch:

may's club - eat! may's club - eat!

The tutorial is a photo-filled explanation of how I made this pocketed apron from a recycled button-down shirt:

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

The collar of the shirt becomes the top pocket of the apron, and the shirt back’s bottom is the bottom edge of the apron…

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

I am no expert sewer, not even close, so mine is a bit messy, but if you have experience, then you could probably make a pretty awesome version using the same concepts.

Recycled Shirt Pocket Apron

And lastly, I made up this little folding zine that you can print out – there’s this colored one, and also a colorless version if you want to save printer ink.  It’s a bunch of things I like to make using my George Foreman grill, which is one of my favorite appliances, and one that I think is mostly associated with meat, so I thought people might like to learn about how great it is for non-meat-eaters as well.  But, of course, you can use lots of the “recipes” with other ways of cooking if you don’t have a GF grill.

meatless grilling mini-zine page from inside May's ebook

The ebook this month is a whopping 19 pages long!  $5 for this book alone, or $7 for a 2-month membership (next month is the last of the club!) – grab it on my site or on ravelry here.

Hey, I would love some theme ideas/requests for the last month!  I have a bunch of barely-developed ideas that I’ve come up with over the last almost-2-years doing quick knits, but nothing that I’m super excited about for the last ebook… Comment with theme ideas if you have any, or just with pattern concept ideas, and I could even do some kind of “by request” theme with different ideas that don’t necessarily have to relate… just a thought…

Which reminds me, it was a member who put the food theme idea out there – she suggested recipe cards, which I had been planning on doing at first, but then I guess the zine idea took over and those didn’t happen.  Thanks Ellen for that idea!!  Aaaand, it was a twitter follower who gave me the idea for the utensil holder pattern, but, sadly, twitter does not make it easy to search through old @ messages, so I can’t find who it was that gave me the idea – I’m sorry!

Ok that’s all, happy knitting!

Filed under: home stuff,knitting,quick knits,recipes — leethal @ 4:46 pm

March 13, 2011

Orange Milk Liqueur recipe, and experimentation updates!

Want to know how my experimental orange milk liqueurs turned out?!

orange milk liqueur

The orange vanilla liqueur, based on this recipe(ish), turned out really well!!  It tastes just like an adult creamsicle in liquid form!  So, here’s my recipe (easy to double for a larger batch):

  • 1 cup vodka (flavorless, I use Oregon Springs brand, which is like 1 step up from the cheapest options)
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole for this one, but I think 2% would be fine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 mandarin oranges, sliced into 4 pieces each (other kinds of oranges should work fine too)
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into 3 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

making orange milk liqueurs!

Mix the milk, vodka, and sugar together in a glass jar, then add the fruit and vanilla.  Put the lid on and shake a bunch so it’s well blended.  The next day it’ll be separated and look something like this:

making orange milk liqueurs!

Mix it up by shaking the jar once per day, and the separating will be less as the days pass.  I made two batches and filtered one after 11 days and the other after 3 weeks, to test how much of a difference it would make… I can taste the difference between the two, but barely.  The 3 week liqueur is a wee bit more flavorful, but the 11 day one is superduper delicious too.

So, my conclusion for that is:  if you’re in no hurry, let it sit (shaking once per day) for about 3 weeks, but if there’s a reason you want it done sooner (like if it’s a gift), then about 10 days is enough time.

homemade chocolate liqueur!

Now comes the filtering – there are a few steps here.  First, strain the whole thing through a fine mesh strainer, and/or cheese cloth, to get out all the solids.  Next, line a strainer (or a funnel) with a paper coffee filter, and pour the milky liquid in.  It’ll take some time to filter through (overnight maybe), and it’ll coat the filter in milk solids, so you’ll need to change filters a few times as needed.

Once all your liqueur has gone through the coffee filters once, I recommend giving it one more run through – now that all the milk solids are filtered out, the second time goes very quickly and only one more coffee filter should be needed.  You can run that second filtering through a funnel, directly into your glass bottle, and then you’ll be left with a beautiful golden, delicious liqueur!

my first 3 orange milk liqueurs!

Above are the 2 batches of orange vanilla liqueur (center and right) and then my super experimental orange spice liqueur…  The orange spice is not ready to share a recipe yet – I learned some huge liqueur-making lessons with that experiment.  Well, one huge lesson: don’t make liqueur with ground spices!  I think the ground cinnamon was the main problem.  Filtering took about 4 days, 3 or 4 times through, and probably about 12 or more coffee filters – not fun!  Once all that filtering was finished, it made a totally drinkable liqueur, but man, it has bite!  I can’t really taste the orange, just the spice!  Good, though!

So, I’m now trying out some updated experimental liqueurs using cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and some crystalized ginger pieces…

experimental spiced milk liqueurs

There’s an orange spice, an orange+apricot spice, and a plain dried apricot milk liqueur.  I got some liqueur making books, but there’s no mention of milk liqueurs (I think they are a traditional Portuguese thing that’s just starting to be known in the states thanks to this book, but I could be totally wrong and they could have some other origin… anyone know?) – so, I’m using the idea of a dried apricot liqueur from one of the books, and turning it into a milk liqueur.  Based on how the orange ones turned out, I think it’ll work well!

Oh, a couple other things I want to share before I go – first, don’t use the kind of jar from Ikea like I used for the spiced liqueur!  Major leaking, no good!  I later found these jars at The Container Store that are working really well, and the biggest size I found is big enough for a batch with 2 cups each of milk/vodka/sugar, as long as I don’t need to add lots of solids (like orange slices) that take up space.

orange milk liqueur

And one last thing – I used this idea to remove the labels from recycled jars and bottles, and it works really well!  Once you use up the vodka for your liqueur, and whatever other glass bottles that have good lids, soak them in water with some shampoo for a few hours – with some kinds of labels, they will literally just fall off the bottle in the water (I think TJ’s blood orange soda was one of these), but others will just become looser and easier to scrape off.

I think that’s all I’ve got for you now.  Happy daylight savings day!

Filed under: drinks,recipes — leethal @ 4:27 pm

February 4, 2011

Making milk liqueurs!

I decided to try out a new thing for fun this year: liqueur-making!  Thanks to pinterest, I read how easy it is to make a basic milk liqueur (on Lottie + Doof)… I thought, hmm, maybe I’ll try that someday… and then I came across 2 more recipes and just couldn’t get the idea out of my head!  So I bought the ingredients (milk, sugar, vodka, lemon, and chocolate for the recipe I decided to try), got a big mason jar, and tried making a half-batch to see how it would turn out.  The final liqueur is delicious!!

homemade chocolate liqueur!

It uses almost all things I already had, making it cheap and easy enough even for me, someone who does not spend much free time in the kitchen…

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I used cheap vodka – the recipe said to use grappa, which I’ve never even seen and read is expensive… but more research into liqueur making told me that most people recommend using something cheap because the difference in flavor in the final liqueur is not noticeable.  So, some $7 Oregon Springs vodka, and a bar of Ghiradelli bittersweet baking chocolate were what I chose:

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I followed the instructions, shaking up the ingredients in the jar (I used 1 cup each of vodka, milk, sugar, 1/4 of a lemon, and 1 ounce of chocolate – grating that chocolate was by far the hardest part of the whole process!).  It didn’t really look “curdled” like they said it would, but the next morning it had separated quite a bit, before I shook it up – I didn’t photograph it then, but the following morning it was separated only a little on the bottom.  On the left, you can see how it looked pre-shaking, then after shaking:

homemade chocolate liqueur! homemade chocolate liqueur!

So, I gave it the 10 days, shaking every day, then came the filtering!  Pouring it through the cheesecloth was much easier said than done, but I managed to do that, then filtered it through coffee filters.  Even just for my half-batch, I used 3 filters to get through it all – it leaves a thick layer of the milk/chocolate behind in the filter, so you have to keep changing it:

homemade chocolate liqueur! homemade chocolate liqueur!

And then, the recipe said “You can repeat this step once or twice to clarify it as much as possible. (I didn’t)” and I was waiting for my bottles in the dishwasher, so I figured this trial batch would be a good time to try filtering it through twice to see if it would make a difference.  Well, the second time went super quickly, since all the solids were already filtered out – only 1 filter was needed for that:

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I left a bit of the once-filtered, so I could see/taste the difference.  Below, you can see how the twice-filtered (left) is more golden and less milky than the once-filtered.  And the taste really is noticeably better!  The chocolate flavor is stronger and the whole taste has more depth, I think, in the twice-filtered.  So, I definitely recommend running it through a filter once more!

homemade chocolate liqueur!

After that little test batch went so well, I wanted to try more!  So, using the concept of this recipe from SF Weekly (which is not exactly an actual recipe – “equal parts vodka, milk, and sugar… oranges and lemons and a spoonful of vanilla” but with no ratios of how much orange/lemon/vanilla), I made a few batches of orange liqueur…

making orange milk liqueurs!

I still have a few weeks before I can tell you how they turn out, but if they are a success, I will tell you exactly what I did!  I basically made 2 identical batches of 1 cup each milk/vodka/sugar, mandarin oranges, some lemon, and a little vanilla…

making orange milk liqueurs! making orange milk liqueurs!

…with my plan being to finish off the 2 batches at different times.  The chocolate milk liqueur I made only needed to sit for 10 days, but the orange liqueur “recipe” which is very similar, says to leave it for 3 weeks.  Anyone know why this might be??  So, I plan to filter one after 2 weeks, and the other after 3 weeks, and see if there’s a difference.

making orange milk liqueurs!

Then I made a 3rd experimental batch of an orange spiced version!  And, with the little bit (less than 1 cup) of vodka I had left, I’m trying out some orange infused vodka as well:

making orange milk liqueurs!

For the spiced version, I skipped the vanilla, and added some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  It might be a total failure, since I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m excited to find out!  It might be delicious!

making orange milk liqueurs!

Here they are on the next morning – see how much they separate at first.  By the 3rd or 4th day, that separating pretty much stops and they stay blended, as long as you shake/mix them every day.  If any of these is a success, I’ll be giving you actual recipes!  I’m hoping for the best!

making orange milk liqueurs!

Anyone out there have experience with making liqueurs?  My birthday is next week, and I want to get a book or two and maybe some new supplies and/or fun ingredients since I’m having a lot of fun with this!  I’d love any book recommendations, advice, or anything else you might have!

Filed under: drinks,recipes — leethal @ 2:56 pm

November 4, 2010

Bundle Up! November quick knits ebook, plus some recipes!

Hey, it’s November already!  That’s crazy, huh?  Well, I released my third quick knits club ebook on Tuesday – themed Bundle Up! Here it is:

Bundle Up!

Pattern number one is Oval Pockets, which can be sewn onto a sweater that’s in need of pockets, which is pretty much all sweaters, as far as I’m concerned!  There’s a 20 yards of bulky version (each pocket uses just 10 yards), pictured on the cardigan, and then a larger any-gauge version, pictured on the two pullovers:

Oval Pockets Oval Pockets

These are now instantly my three favorite sweaters – but I think the hooded fair isle yoke one is my all time favorite sweater (found at a thrift store in Salt Lake City, isn’t is fabulous?!)… The any-gauge pocket pattern is a little wonky, so I’d recommend attempting in a finer-than-worsted yarn it only if you’re comfortable with short rows and making adjustments – it’s been tested in the bulky and worsted weights, and I fear that finer weight yarns will need some extra steps (all this is discussed in the pattern).

Oval Pockets Oval Pockets

The second pattern is a little weird, maybe… I called it a Cabled Cowl Maker – it loops and wraps around a long scarf to kind of turn it into a cowl:

Cabled Cowl Maker

Depending on how you wrap it, your “cowl” can be snug…

Cabled Cowl Maker Cabled Cowl Maker

…or fluffy and loose:

Cabled Cowl Maker Cabled Cowl Maker

And you can tie it behind the scarf to hide the ties, or in front for a bow design element.  You can’t really see in these photos, but it’s designed so that the cables appear to come off the piece and become the i-cord on one end, and the braided ties on the other end… very similar to the way the cables come off the garter stitch based piece and become buttonhole tabs in Twisted Ankles.  And because they both use bulky, you could whip up this quick knit with leftovers from that project, making those legwarmers and this cowl maker a good winter pair!

Cabled Cowl Maker Cabled Cowl Maker

A running theme throughout the ebook is modifying stuff that’s easily found at thrift stores (all the sweaters in the examples were thrifted, as well as the blue scarf), so my extra is 2 pages of tips and info about thrifting for secondhand sweaters!  Ideas for reconstructing and embellishing, and how to felt wool sweaters for crafting – and the craft tutorial this month is a recycled sweater wool felt mug sleeve:

wool felt mug sleeve

Make it either with velcro or ties; a template is included in the pdf.  Keep your coffee hot longer this winter with a wool sleeve, yay!

wool felt mug sleeve wool felt mug sleeve

This month’s cozy winter set matches January’s club, themed Keeping Warm, with its Afterthought Earflaps and Pinwheel Earmuffs designs (available in Vol. 2 of the old quick knits pattern setsravelry link)…

Afterthought Earflaps Pinwheel Earmuffs

…and included in that club was some hot winter drink recipe cards, fitting right in with the mug sleeves this month, so I wanted to share my favorites with you!  These are leethal “recipes” which means they are just the way I make the drinks, not necessarily the best way or the right way, but they work for me!  The first is non-alcoholic and the others are adult drinks…

leethal Tea!

  • flavored black tea of your choice (berry flavors are good, like blackberry sage)
  • hot water (about 2 thirds of a mug full)
  • milk (soy or regular, a third of a mug full)
  • white chocolate syrup/sauce (a generous squeeze)
  • hazelnut flavor syrup (a big splash)

Let tea steep in hot water for a minute or two, then add milk and syrups, and leave tea bag in to steep as long as you like.

Hot Buttered Rum!

  • hot water (a mug full)
  • butter (a small chunk, about a teaspoon)
  • brown sugar (a tbsp-ish or as sweet as you want)
  • cinnamon (a teaspoon-ish or very generous sprinkle)
  • cloves, nutmeg, any other spices you want (a little)
  • dark rum (as much as you want)

Pour water over butter, sugar, and spices, and stir until butter is melted.  Add rum and enjoy.

Variation: Skip cinnamon & stir with a cinnamon stick.

Hot Toddy!

  • hot water (a mug full)
  • honey (as much as you like for sweetness)
  • lemon juice (a splash)
  • bourbon whiskey (as much as you want)

Stir honey and lemon juice into hot water, and add bourbon.  Sip and enjoy.

Variations: Use hot apple cider (like Trader Joe’s spiced cider, heated) instead of water for an apple hot toddy (yum!); add a tea bag for a tea toddy.

And then there’s my Spicy Cup of Yum recipe from the blog last winter – a coffee drink with optional adult twist.  So good!

As usual, you can grab this month’s ebook alone for $5, or you can subscribe for 6 months of club ebooks (starting with this one) and save $10 – either on my club page, or on ravelry.  My club page has been updated, so now you can get past months’ club ebooks there on my site, and add the subscription to a patterns cart so you can continue shopping in my patterns section as well (where the old club ebooks live).

Happy winter knitting, and I’ll be announcing a super fun thing soon… ok actually I can tell you what it is right now – a mystery knit-a-long!  Hopefully it’ll be announced officially, with details, early next week, and it’ll start around mid-month, as close as possible to the 15th.  I’m super excited about it!  It’s gonna be awesome!  Yay!

Filed under: knitting,quick knits,recipes — leethal @ 4:54 pm

July 5, 2010

Catching Up – coffee, interview, and a bunch of links!

I got a super nice message from Parisa of LightingLittleFires blog a while back, saying that I’d helped inspire her to start a blog and put together a blog “festival” of projects, which sounded like a fun idea!  She asked if I’d be interested in contributing something summery, so I put together a how-to for one of my favorite summer treats – cold brewed coffee!

cold brew! cold brew!

Along with the coffee instructions, you’ll also find a pretty wordy interview… be warned, when I’m asked about my business and stuff, you can’t shut me up!  So head over to day 10 of the Midsummer Day’s Dream blog festival – and check out the festival home page to see all the projects for all the days (including some free knit and crochet patterns, recipes, and more!).

cold brew!

In other news… did you know this year’s Tour de Fleece has started already?!  My, how time flies!  I’m taking the year off, sadly, too much going on, but I did participate the last 2 years – see my posts about 2009 and about 2008, or the flickr sets, for some inspiration perhaps?  It’s such a fun way to spin a bunch with a huge group of people all spinning right along with you, yay!  (Head to the ravelry group to get involved!)

ease your feet in the sea

I’ve been meaning to mention this since the Summit of Awesome, where I met the creator of this amazing new website – unanimous craft!  From the site:

Unanimous Craft is a tagable, sortable index of resources for crafters, artists and indie business owners. We submit our favorite resources and welcome the community to do the same.

It’s still super new, and the awesomeness of it is dependent on how much it gets used… I haven’t been able to spend any real time there yet, but I plan to for sure, and you should too!

I got an email from 9-year-old Hannah pointing me to this video she made about Hats for Hunger – seems like a great charity to know about if you’re looking for a place to donate hats, or want to buy some hats for a good cause, or especially if you have kids in your life who might be into loom-knitting (or regular knitting) up some hats for the cause, since it’s all run by kids!  Pretty rad!

And one last thing to tell you about – Google voice has recently come out of beta so an invite is no longer needed to get an account!  It’s a great service (watch the video to learn about it) and I now have a new number that I can share publicly since it’s all screened and stuff…  (971)-leethal will reach me via phone call or text! Yay!

Well I’m finally almost not sick anymore, and catching up slowly on everything after a couple weeks of rest… oh, my poor blog, hopefully I’ll be seeing more of you!

Filed under: lots of links,random stuff,recipes,yarn — leethal @ 11:08 pm

November 17, 2009

leethal “recipe” – Spicy Cup of Yum! (plus mix swap idea)


My Threadbanger roundup on Friday was Drinks for Winter Warming, and ever since then I’ve been excited to try some yummy hot drinks.  I thought the White Spiced Coffee on delish sounded so good, but the super crazy time-consuming recipe involves simmering the crushed coffee beans in a saucepan (not up to leethal “recipe” standards!), so I combined some ingredients from that one with a Christmasy Coffee recipe given to me by Diane, with my own additions, and this is what I made (and very much enjoyed)!

I used:

  • 1 big-ish serving worth of ground coffee beans
  • cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • grated orange peel
  • soy milk (original flavor) (I’m sure regular milk would be good too)
  • honey
  • cinnamon stick (optional)
  • dark rum (also optional)

Make the coffee as you normally would (I use a regular drip coffee maker, but it would be even yummier using a french press I’m sure!) except add some cinnamon, cloves (not much), and orange peel (more) mixed in with the grounds.  If you have a cinnamon stick, then add only a little or no cinnamon, but if not, then add a whole lot of cinnamon with the grounds!  Now pour your spiced coffee into your mug and add milk – as much as you like, or a little more than you’d normally add.  Stir the milk in with your cinnamon stick!  Now stir in some honey, as sweet as you like it!  Last, add some optional rum if you want your yumminess adult-style.  Keep the cinnamon stick in there and it’ll get spicier as you drink it!  Enjoy!  Mmmmmm.

in the morning

So I’ve been thinking about this idea for awhile, and now that’s it’s halfway into November, I think it’s a good time to do something about it… Back in college I organized some Winter mix CD swaps with my fellow radio station DJs and buddies, and I have such fond memories of them that I want to do another one!  So I’m opening it up to anyone who wants it, but be aware, it’s a pretty huge time and effort commitment, so only join up if you want to do it right!  Here’s how it works:

  • Swappers each create an original mix – it can be Winter themed, or not, any genres, no musical requirements, as long as it’s made with mixxy love!  (I spend so many hours on my mixes, it’s ridiculous, but you don’t have to be so crazy like me)
  • Everyone participating makes a copy of their mix for everyone else (20 people swapping = make 19 copies)
  • All mixes include some form of packaging with some kind of artwork which includes the track list
  • Everyone mails their mix to every participant (remember, postage costs $ so this can add up a bit), except for swappers you see in real life, of course
  • So each swapper receives a mix from every participant (20 swappers = you get 19 new mixes! so much music!)

I have no idea how many people there will end up being – it gets to be just too much effort if there are more than about 25 people, so I’m kind of hoping for a low-ish level of interest.  Also, it needs to be restricted to US only, because of postage, sorry everyone else.  But you can organize a swap like this in your own country!

So, right now all I’m doing is putting the idea out there – if you are interested, or might be interested, email me at leethalkoala at yahoo dot com with something like “winter mix swap” in the subject, by Thursday night at 8pm (Portland time).  I’ll see how many people express interest, and I’ll send out a follow-up email to let everyone know about how many people there might be, and then if you want in for sure, you’ll confirm then.  So, emailing me now does not mean you’re committing, but please only email if you think you probably want to do it, so that I have a semi-accurate idea of the swapper number.

If a ton of you are indeed into the idea, and I get well over 25 interested mixers, I’ll figure out a way to divide it into 2 or more groups, so that everyone who wants in can do it, without have to make and mail like 50 copies.  Oh, also, once it’s all organized and planned out, it’ll probably be a couple weeks from now, which means after Thanksgiving, which means holiday gift-planning/crafting stress galore – so, the mix mail-out deadline will be after Christmas to make it easier on us all, and allow plenty of time for track list making.  (Around the first week in January perhaps?)

As for some specifics, if you need more info to decide whether you’re into it… I’ll be making up a .doc file with every participant’s name and address, so we can all print that out to attach to packages for easier addressing.  You can totally include anything else you want with your mix packages (like a business card for your website, or anything else like that) – the only requirement is that each package for each swapper includes a copy of your mix CD with packaging/artwork.

Want some packaging ideas?  Of course there’s a normal CD case, or the skinny kind, into which you can slip a piece of cardstock (or photo paper or whatever) with your art.  You could go all out with a normal sized case, making art for the front and back, or even a booklet, but that’s pretty intense.  One piece of paper or cardstock can fold into a case, by folding the 2 long edges over the CD first, then fold the short edges in and tuck one end into the other end.  I’ve made a few mixes like that, including my leethal mix, made with this strip of art/track list which gets taped onto a recycled book page folded around the CD:

leethal vol1

leethal mix vol1

There are other ways to fold cardstock into CD cases/envelopes, or you could experiment to figure out your own weird way of making cases.  Mix CD packaging doesn’t have to be a big deal, but be creative with the artwork, because it’s fun!

So yeah, let me know if you want in (or might want in) via email – I’ll be doing all the swap organization and communication through my yahoo email, so even if you let me know via twitter or elsewhere that you’re interested, please still send me a quick email.  Thanks!  And comment if you have any questions or confusion, and I’ll answer in the comments for all to read.

Filed under: music,recipes,swap — leethal @ 12:04 am

August 15, 2009

leethal “recipe” – Grilled Breakfast Quesadilla

I’ve become a little obsessed with this meal lately, working (and eating) at home every day – George Foreman grilled quesadillas are super easy, healthy(ish) depending on your filling choices, and so delicious!  You need a GF grill big enough to fit your tortilla, or else you can fold one tortilla in half and make a half-size snack.

breakfast quesadilla

My version is vegetarian, but of course you can substitute meat or vegan ingredients as you like.  You can also make a higher quality meal by using fresh ingredients instead of frozen, and you can use non-breakfasty ingredients for a lunch or dinner version; use whatever you like, it’ll be yum!

I used:

  • 2 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 hash brown patty
  • 1 veggie sausage patty (MorningStar Farms)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • frozen veggies (Trader Joe’s organic mix with corn, peas, carrots, and green beans – small veggie pieces work best)

Plug in the grill, put in the hash brown and sausage patties, grill for a few minutes.  Put the patties on a plate and cut them up into small pieces.  Place one tortilla on the grill, spread the hash brown and sausage bits over it evenly, add a layer of frozen veggies, then a layer of shredded cheese.  Top with second tortilla, close grill, grill until tortilla top is browned, cheese is melted, and veggies are done (around 7-8 minutes I think).  Transfer to a plate, let cool a minute, cut in quarters, let cool a couple more minutes, eat!  Yumyumyumyum!

Other ingredient ideas – add sliced mushrooms on the grill at the beginning with the hash brown and sausage; use a frozen veggie mix that includes beans too (some have black and/or kidney and or/garbanzo beans); use ripped up pieces of fake turkey instead of fake sausage for a lunch quesadilla; use pepper jack cheese for some spice; add fresh spinach instead of or in addition to the frozen veggies…..

Filed under: recipes — leethal @ 7:47 pm

July 29, 2009

leethal “recipe” – Coffee Soda Pop!

The first in my new blog category of leethal “recipes”!  These “recipes” are in quotes because they’re not meant to be normal recipes – working at home all day, I get creative in the kitchen like I do with yarn and fabric, so I want to start sharing my weirdo ideas and inspire you too to look at what you have in your kitchen and try to make something new and interesting!

coffee soda pop

This first one is brought to you by the Pacific Northwest heat wave!  I start off every morning by making myself a mini-pot of coffee (Pete doesn’t drink coffee, can you believe it?!), enough for about 2 mugs worth.  Well in the heat, after my first small cup wakes me up, I tend not to want the any more hot, so I let it sit there for awhile; then a couple hours later the caffeine starts to wear off and I want another kick.  So, I’ve started making this crazy coffee soda pop!

You’ll need:

  • coffee (cooled to room temperature or cold is best)
  • any kind of dark soda pop (any cola, or flavored cola, or root beer, or Dr. Pepper, and diet works too….)
  • optional chocolate syrup (my favorites are dark chocolate or white chocolate)

Mix the coffee and the pop about 50/50.

Normally I start with my room temperature coffee, add chocolate syrup if I want, then add the soda, slowly!  The warmer the coffee, the more fizz you’ll get – adding soda to warm/hot coffee can cause major fizz catastrophes!  I know this from experience, of course!

Add ice as needed; watering it down a little with ice can sometimes make it taste better, in my opinion, if the coffee is particularly strong.  Sometimes, if I know I want to make the drink later in the day, I’ll stick the leftover coffee in the fridge, so all ingredients are cold and less ice is needed.

I’ve used RC cola, diet lime Coke, diet Go (Safeway brand cola), Barqs root beer, diet cherry Dr. Pepper… they’re all great!  I usually don’t bother with the chocolate syrup, but I add it sometimes depending on what pop I’m using.  I’d bet flavored coffee syrups would be good too – like vanilla, cherry, or raspberry…

Just so you know, I’m not insane to have come up with this – Coke has (had, in the US) a cola/coffee bottled drink called Coke Blak that I used to get sometimes (guilty pleasure – I try to avoid supporting Coke).  And there is an official espresso drink with a name that I can’t remember or find that’s made with: Coke, espresso, and chocolate syrup.  Really, it’s true, I made it when I was a barista.


On a side note, your other hot weather coffee option is of course cold brew!  Yummmm!  I started doing this a couple summers ago (in fact, I mentioned it long ago in an early blog post), and I’ve been lazy about it this year, only making it once so far, but it is delicious!  If you have a french press, you can use that, but it’s easy to make without one too.  Enjoy!

Filed under: recipes — leethal @ 8:00 am

April 14, 2009

knitting, knitting, dyeing, and food!

some knitting stuff for you today… first of all, i’ve altered the mary jane booties pattern a wee bit.  just changed a couple decrease types for looks, nothing that changes the shape or anything, so it’s not a big deal.  i had knit them with fuzzy yarn that hid the decreases before, but while making another pair for a class sample with non-fuzzy yarn, i realized i should change the one side from k2tog’s to ssk’s for symmetry.  and i changed the k3tog on that side to sk2p… while i was at it, i thought about changing the other k3tog to sk2p also because it’s much easier with the fat needles and yarn (i don’t know about you, but i have a hard time with the k3tog’s when the needles get to 11), but k3tog does look better and hold the symmetry, so i left it alone and you choose which you want to use.  (the pdf has been switched on ravelry, and you can download the new pdf directly here.)

orangeslippers3 orangeslippers4

i’ve been hard at work on a new pattern design project, which will remain secret for know, but this picture might give you some clues…


oh and by the way, that fat red book in the pile – “the complete encyclopedia of stitchery” – was one of my best goodwill bins finds ever!  dated 1979, with sections on crochet, embroidery, knitting, macramé, rugmaking, sewing, and tatting, the knitting section reaches from page 359 to 559, most of those pages with illustrated stitch patterns, like this:

encyclopedia of stitchery

that’s a heck of a lot of stitches for a dollar! woo!!  but while that’s super awesome for sure, i finally got myself a copy of barbara walker’s treasury of knitting patterns for some more variety.  so the last week has been filled with crazy amounts of stitch pattern swatching, frogging, and more swatching.  fun!


i also did some dyeing last week! it had been awhile away from the dyepot, i forgot how much fun it is!  these are all recycled yarns (mostly unraveled sweaters and a couple old yarns from the craft thrift store), all dyed with kool-aid.  they are mostly for me to play with, but they’ll be going into a few bracelet kits and maybe another secret future kit! (so many secrets… i hope to reveal things soon!)

yarn207 yarn102

and i’ll leave you with a couple images of my food creations – on easter day i felt a burst of baking/cooking energy, which resulted in these (recipe here, i added some chocolate chips, and a little coconut and almond extract)…

coconut cookies!

and this (brown rice, teriyaki tofu, red potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms)

easter dinner


Filed under: books,knitting,recipes,yarn — leethal @ 2:29 pm

January 24, 2009

winter sickness, go away! i’m done with you!

well well well it’s been awhile. sorry about that.  so that cold i had around the holidays left, i was all healthy, then ten days ago i got hit with a fever and a whole different crappy cold that still hasn’t left completely.  i spent about six days on the couch with the energy to do nothing more than knit.  so, i did a lot of knitting, but yeah, i have a lot of catching up to do.  with no energy to blog for all that time, and with nothing really to blog about, i’m back now but without much to say.  i have a bunch of projects now in the works, but not ready to talk about yet.  i’ll give you one photo sneak peek at a future knitting pattern-type-thing (yes, it will be a pattern, but oh so much more!)…

fullhousehat01 fullhousehat02

i’m also knitting a personal project for myself from someone else’s pattern (which is a rarity) – a bonnet using this handspun yarn (trying to modify it to be me-sized, hoping it works!)…


during my sick days, i also finished up this hat, which starts out with a 100% recycled spun art yarn i made awhile back (1 strand recycled wool, 1 strand recycled alpaca blend, 2 strands of secondhand thread, fabric scraps, and recycled/vintage/secondhand buttons and beads) and then i used up the rest of my “happy” handspun (one of the first yarns i ever spun), and a tiny ball of navajo plied i spun up to try out the technique, and then some leftover handspun single from one of my first yarns…

recycled handspun hat recycled handspun hat

so those are some highlights of the knitting i did.  something else fun i did while couch-ridden – i uploaded about 300 old photos from 2004 and 2005 to flickr!  the ’04 set is mostly silly shots of old college friends, but the ’05 set is filled with fun film play and all kinds of experimental stuff.  some of the shots are in my photo portfolio website, which hasn’t been updated in forever (on the to-do list!).  here are a few that aren’t…

120treesgreen 120zooplants 120fair06


shortstopstrip fairbwroll01 zoobwcactus photoboothstrip1 holgaxprocessedbb1

p033 p038


sd06 holgapigeon af02

ok that’s enough of those.  let’s see, what else?  oh, yeah, last night i found out it was pie day, so i made a pie!

apples pie top

it was my first pie ever, and i messed up on a few big things, but it still turned out great!  i forgot to peel the apples (don’t know how that happened!) and i didn’t have enough sour cream, but it didn’t seem to matter much.  soooo yummy!  so, now i’m gonna try to make more pies, now that i know i can! the recipe i used was from the posie gets cozy blog: sour cream apple pie:

whole pie

oh also, i’ve been spinning a lot the last few days! there’s a specific reason for it, which is to be announced later, but the awesome thing is that it’s gotten me hooked back into spinning! so, hopefully i’ll be adding some new yarns to the shop in the next few weeks, yarny yarny yarnyarn!

ooooh it’s snowing!  it’s pretty as long as it doesn’t stick….

Filed under: hats,knitting,personal,photos,recipes,yarn — leethal @ 9:59 pm

November 2, 2008

yay, you voted! high five!! here’s a pdf for you!

update: this offer is over now, but see this post for info about the hat pattern!

are excited to vote?  i think most of you do stuff! blog readers probably already are, but, if not so much, i want to get you more excited!

pdf cover dandelion and hat

to everyone and anyone – if you comment here or email me (leethalkoala at yahoo dot com) with some kind of proof that you voted (link to a photo of yourself with “i voted!” sticker, for example) i will send you this pdf!  (see bottom of post for more details.)

the pdf includes: pattern for this knit flared hat!

flared hat

the dandelion stencil design up top, and this alpaca applique design:

yellow alpaca applique zebra print alpaca applique

and for non-crafters, this thank you card to print out on cardstock paper:

thank you card

and, contributed by pete, a page about mac and cheese with some fun “recipes”

mac and cheese

some extra info and linkage to go along with the pdf……

my flared hat example is made with 2 strands of malabrigo merino worsted held together.  the hat is very fitted, to the point of maybe being a bit too small, but i haven’t blocked it yet.  if you want a bigger, floppy hat, this pattern will work great for that style by using fatter yarn (or 3 or 4 strands of worsted).  the hat pattern uses size us 11 double pointed needles.

the appliqué page has minimal instructions, recommending steam-a-seam just because that’s what i used.  i didn’t elaborate further because full instructions are on the fusible web packaging. there is a fantastic detailed appliqué tutorial here, which includes machine sewing around the edges too (which would be pretty tricky with my alpaca, but i’d love to see pictures if anyone does it).  there are more how-to’s around the web, including videos (just do some quick googling).

for my appliqué examples, i did one at 100% print size, with the nose/mouth piece, the same way it prints out.  the zebra print one is flipped (mirror image) of the way it prints, at 50% size, with no nose/mouth piece.  yay alpacas!

the dandelion stencil was made by taking a photo of the print i did from the original hand-drawn stencil, and adjusting to get a black+white image.  so, the lines are a little textured (wavy), but it’s meant to trace/cut onto freezer paper, so that shouldn’t matter.  (you can find a fabulous f-p stencil tutorial over at neither hip nor funky!)  you can print the stencil out any size you want and use it for something besides freezer paper printing if you want – i’d love to see what you do with it!

the thank you card is a drawing i did by tracing this photo and parts of this photo.  it’s designed on the pdf to print out on cardstock, fit to 8.5’x11′ paper size, for a card that folds in half to measure about 6.25’x4.25′.  you can color it if you want to!

pete’s mac and cheese page is full of meal ideas and fun facts.  i didn’t want this pdf to appeal only to crafty voters!

i am happy to give this pdf to absolutely anyone who voted and wants it, regardless of who/what you choose to vote for, but i won’t hide the fact that i really hope you don’t vote for mccain.  just sayin’…

for oregon voters (and any others states that are weird like us and do mail-in only) – i can’t figure out any kind of proof you can give if you’ve already mailed it in.  if you haven’t already dropped it in the mailbox, you can send me a picture of the filled/sealed envelope or something like that, but if you’ve mailed it, i’ll have to take your word for it.  i am very trusting and won’t doubt anyone who claims to have voted without photographic proof, but seriously, that would be way lame of anyone to lie about it.  seriously.

and this is completely free of charge, i did it just out of inspiration (hey, speaking of inspiration, check out the event my brother ben put together down in so-cal!) but if you are overcome with the need to contribute a little something for the time i put into this, i’m throwing a donate button down there.

and hey, one more thing if you got this far – i wasn’t able to get this done and posted until super last-minute as you can see, so if you have a blog i would reeeeally appreciate it if you mentioned this!  feel free to use any of my images, copy/paste text, whatever, as long as you link to this post.  thanks!!

update: to everyone who linked over to this post and hasn’t seen the rest of the blog – there is a more info post after this one, with details about what you can do if you’re not in the US, or under 18, and more.
Filed under: general crafts,hats,printing,random stuff,recipes — leethal @ 7:54 pm
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