It has been a season of firsts -- first snowfall, first road trip, first Thanksgiving. Erik apparently loathes bibs, though he enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with his Minnesota grandparents quite well otherwise. So much love! A new baby has a way of renewing and enriching connections with friends and family.
Back home in Chicago, amazed that it's December already, time to trim the tree.
Amazingly I've actually done a few things in the kitchen in the past couple of weeks. These banana chocolate chip muffins were a big hit.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 large ripe bananas (about 3 cups mashed)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or substitute chopped nuts or raisins or any combination thereof)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil or spray a muffin tin or use paper liners.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer or by hand, beat the oil, sugar, eggs, and mashed bananas well until blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients – be careful not to overmix. Fold in the vanilla and, if using, the chocolate chips, raisins, and/or nuts.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins on a baking rack.
adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts
Turns out that a giant granny square made out of Noro is perfect for cuddling up and watching football, snuggling with a baby, or reading a good book. Who knew? ; )
I started this way back in February 2010, and while I finished crocheting it two years ago, it sat neglected in a corner with lots of loose ends. I was making this for Paul since I thought he would appreciate its rustic look, and I wasn't sure why I was so reluctant to weave in those ends.
Then I remembered that this had been Kylie Cat's favorite project. She loved crochet in general, and the sheepy, lanolin smell of the yarn I used for the border exerted a siren's song over her. It was just too hard to finish it while the memory of saying good-bye to my funny tabby cat was fresh.
And now another cute little creature is enjoying snuggling up with it. Erik's sweet little cardigan (complete with sheep buttons!) was knit by Heather from my knitting group. Knitters are the nicest people!
A colorful granny triangle bunting to welcome little Erik into our lives!
The yarn is Knit Picks Simply Cotton leftover from a few other crochet projects. I stumbled across this granny triangle bunting tutorial via Pinterest a few months ago and thought it was just charming. The triangles were quick to make, and the crochet chain to join them was easy. The triangles initially looked a little lumpy and floppy. I wet-blocked them and used two or three applications of spray starch to give them more body.
The hard part? It took us a while to figure out how to affix it to the wall. Also, I just may have caused Paul quite a few hours of extra work of patching, sanding, priming, and painting when I pulled off 3M Command hooks incorrectly. Note to self: read directions! We ended up just using a few nails, which worked much better.
The leaf yoke pattern was very fun to knit. I used a rich dark brown to
give the pattern a more “boyish” look. Picking up fewer stitches for the
button bands would have worked better (or using a smaller needle), but I’m happy enough with it as
I used the same yarn as for the tiny trees baby vest. The yarn was a giveaway on Suze's blog, Mad Knitting, and I stand by my earlier assessment that I like it better than Swish -- it has a nicer hand and a little less of the creepy superwash feel.
Still hooking away at the rosie posie granny square afghan... I'm not sure whether to do four more squares or fourteen more squares.
Some more nursery photos, though we've made progress since these were taken.
The baby quilt made at my mum's baby shower for me!
Paul's mother did the embroidery above the bookcase for his nursery when he was a baby.
My great aunt sewed this sweet christening gown for my aunt in 1940. It has been worn by many babies -- my aunt, mom, two uncles, brother, cousins, me, and even one cousin-once-removed.
I asked my mother to help me select a design for birth announcements, and she studiously pored over dozens of layouts. When I asked her which were her favorites, she said, "The ones where the babies were wearing hats. Have you knit some cute hats for the baby yet?"
* cue cricket noises *
Hmmm. I hadn't, so set out to rectify the situation right away.
My first time crocheting something that actually has to fit! Usually I crochet afghans and the like. These were pretty fun to make -- very quick, and I enjoyed not having to switch to DPNs and fiddle around. They are worked top-down. Initially I made the little one in Bobby Blue, then began to fret because it looked so tiny! So I made another in a larger size with a larger hook. After blocking, the tiny one looks just right. Not a bad thing for "Ragnar" to have a larger hat for the winter, too, though.
Also, a wee owlie hat for our little one! Love the owl cables and the yarn.