Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I'm wearing a cheetah suit!!!!!
(and I found this make up idea online and tried to copy it)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ace of Clubs

In response to this post a few days ago...Yes, Adam is going to be a card for Halloween.
Specifically, he is the Ace of Clubs from Alice in Wonderland. (His team at work is dressing up as characters from Alice in Wonderland, and he was assigned to be the Ace of Clubs)
Here are some screen shots I found from the cartoon version (via
"Painting the Roses Red"
One more of Adam in his home made costume complete with cardboard paintbrush!
Dropping the card off at work:
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

cute baby things

I saw this cute baby bib pattern and wanted to make a few. They're cute mainly because of the fabric and the tiny size.
The pattern template is simple, as you can see. While looking through my stash for some suitable fabric, I saw this old floral blanket (you may recognize it). I just cut the bib out, sewed bias tape to the sides, and sewed on some velcro squares instead of snaps.
One will go to my ADORABLE niece who turns 1 today, and the others I'll save for future baby gifting.
Go make some bibs!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Articles of Faith

On Sunday, the materials library at church was cleaning out old supplies. In the give away box Adam found this "Articles of Faith" book.

I think the cover is beautiful, though I haven't read the book!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Silly costume

Here is a hint at what Adam will be wearing this Friday at work:

Any guesses...?

Monday, October 25, 2010

black walnuts

Yay! I have inherited some black walnut hulls!
Folks at UW Farm harvested black walnuts (Juglans nigra) and saved the hulls and rinsing water for me to use as dye. In Provo, I had a black walnut tree in my yard but I wasn't in to dyeing. Now that I love to dye with everything I see, I didn't have a tree...until now.
Now I have 4 buckets of hulls to dye with! Rather than transport them back to my apartment, I am going to keep them in Seattle and bring my wool to dye while I'm at work. It's a perfect plan :)

This morning, I dipped in a few yards of white Lopi (Icelandic wool) to test out the dye while I'm at work.
My plan is to dye several skeins with no mordant (warm brown), several with alum mordant (warm brown), and several with iron mordant (a near black color!).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

knit quilt squares

Our Relief Society is knitting a quilt for charity. Everyone (who can knit) knits squares in various colors and stitch patterns that will then be pieced together to make a large afghan/quilt.
These are a few of my favorites I have made so far.
We started a few weeks ago and it may take a while to finish, but I'll post a picture of the final quilt when we finish it.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I knit an autumn hat! Just in time for the wonderful fall colors that have hit Seattle.

I named it haust, the Icelandic word for autumn.

I used scraps from my yarn shopping spree in Iceland October 2005 - I can't believe it was 5 years ago!
I still have quite a stash of Lopi (Icelandic yarn from Icelandic sheep), but unfortunately not enough of any single color to make a sweater :(
Sad face. A multicolored sweater would be wonderful, but those can be tricky to make just right and the colors I have are not varied enough to make a good multicolor print.

Basic specs:
CO 100 sts
8 rows of 1X1 rib
25 rows main body of hat, then decreasing to shape.
leaf pattern of 10 repeating stitches from Selbu Strikke

Adam hoped it would be for him - and I would gladly give it to him!- but it's my size. I think for Adam, I would use 110 stitches instead of 100. The poor man still doesn't have a proper hat. The one I made for him earlier this year is too itchy for his head and needs to be lined so I frequently sneak wear it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

bacon bakin'

Bacon bakin', as in making bacon and baking with it.
We are getting into baby mode over here and to prepare, one of the things we are trying to do is eat healthier by eliminating bad chemicals from our diet. This seems easy, but what are bad chemicals? which ones are they? what do they do to you? etc.
To start, we thought we would cut out bad plastics (no disposable water bottles, no microwaving in plastic containers, etc.), artificial dye chemicals like yellow 40, and "nitrates" from processed meats...until we found a small bag of bacon in the freezer, which I decided we should cook and eat it now (before I get pregnant), as opposed to after I get pregnant. I have no idea if nitrates from cured bacon would have any affect on my pregnancy, but oh, well.

Since this could be the last bacon I have for a while, I wanted to make it count and try out some bacon recipes I've had my eye on.
First, chocolate covered bacon:
3 years ago I fell in LOVE with the $8 bacon chocolate bar from Vosges chocolates. Adam had the idea to make our own, here is the first prototype:
Does NOT photograph well....but it tastes really good. We dipped these in two layers of chocolate (mild and dark mixed). I think a third or fourth layer would have been great, too.
Second, bacon in two otherwise vegan soups:
French Lentil Rice soup (known around here as "ration" soup. I pack it in jars for lunches and when we pass them out in the morning to take to work, it really does feel like you are getting your daily ration!)
and Potato Leek soup never tasted so good! (I cooked the leeks in the bacon fat and then used pieces of bacon as a topping. Also perfect for taking to work.)
Third, bacon shortbread!
I saw this recipe online and really want to try it, but haven't yet. I saved the bacon fat, so I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


(Above: Volvox carteri, a species from one of my favorite algal genera when I took Phycology -"algae class" - at BYU. Photo from wikipedia.)
Here is an inspiring article about growing algae for food. I recommend reading it. It got me real jazzed about setting up a series of water bottles in my window to grow edible algae.

Here are a few quotes to get you excited about reading the article.
"Aaron Baum is a 40-year-old Harvard graduate and Stanford Physics PhD. After a mid-life crisis of sorts, he spent months researching the types of science that would most benefit the world and concluded that algae are it."
After working as a program manager, Aaron said "I realized I was working my butt off to make computer chips run faster. I kind of lost faith in what I was doing."
"Algae is a way to grow really high quality food in a small area, on the surface of a body of water, or in wastewater."
"Algae as a food is extremely healthy. It's high in complete protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and it's effective against infections....There were dozens of experiments where they fed rats a regular diet and another group with spirulina. They exposed the rats to mercury, lead, pesticides, radiation, and mutagens and found that spirulina-eating rats did much better."
How to eat fresh live spirulina...? "You can spread it on crackers. Or mix it with brown rice and guacamole for a vegan meal. The easiest way is mixed in carrot juice."
"The nice thing about algae is that while they clean water and air, they also produce very valuable things like fuel, fertilizer, food, and precursers to bioplastics, cosmetics, and medicine."

Yahoo! sign me up, sounds fun! I also like the way windows look with green tanks of algae.

Aaron Baum's website: FarmerOnMars

Yes, yes, I know, Volvox is not edible, but it's amazing looking. Here are some more cool photos illustrating the diversity and beauty of algae:
(several species from the Chlorococcales group via wikipedia)
(above: Oedogonium sp. from wikipedia)
And last, here is Spirulina, the commonly eaten algae:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Amanita muscaria

Meet Amanita muscaria, the most widely recognized mushroom:

Fly Amanita from David Fenster on Vimeo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

mushroom tank top

My sister sent me a link to this mushroom tank top. It's cute; you could wear it almost like a vest over other shirts or maybe dresses.

I just finished and posted 5 or so posts that had been waiting around half finished. They are mostly about mushrooms, feel free to check them out below. I even have another half finished mushroom post, but I'm tired....

P.S. There is a new bus from Redmond to UW - the 542. It's great because I don't have to transfer or walk or wait for another bus which means more uninterrupted knitting time :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tumwater Campground mushrooms

Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis (not the best picture, look them up online....)

Another mushroom collecting trip to Tumwater Campground near Leavenworth, WA. It's an unsuspecting place - a dry, campground area near a cottonwood lined river - but the weather conditions this year made this campground bursting with millions of mushrooms non stop for a month. Incredible!
Leucopaxillus giganteus (There were hundreds of these gigantic mushrooms. Look at the white spores pouring from their gills and covering the ground!)
Lycoperdon perlatum (the first mushroom I ever learned. I found one in Iceland and thought it was amazing)
Helvella lacunosa (above)
Fairy Ring Marasmius oreades (above).
Suillus tomentosus (cap, pores, stipe all yellow, no veil, base white and pink)
Suillus lakeii (above)
Boletus chrysenteron (dry, velvety grey-brown cap.Gills/flesh bruise blue)
S. lakeii, B. chrysenteron, and B. zelleri for comparison.
Amanita _ check out this volva/ universal veil!!!!!

Trichaptum abietinum (purple tinged, on conifer logs)
Chroogomphus pseudovinicolor, a possible dye species, we shall see...
And finally:
Clitocybe odora (grey-green-blue gills, strong anise smell)

I also saw Lactarius deliciousus, Lactarius rubrolactius, Boletus edulis, and Hericium abietes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

vegan breakfast sausage

(The picture is blurry because the lens got steamed up)
Yes, vegan breakfast sausage. It's delicious and made of cracked oats and lentils...

It's a recipe from my Aunt Janet and it's actually called goetta (though my sisters and I like to call it "getto"). I LOVE it. My aunt made it at a family reunion many years ago and I have gone in and out of phases where I eat it every day.
I recently was craving it and made a big batch which made me want to share the recipe because I think it's so tasty.

Vegan Goetta (aka vegan breakfast sausage)
1 cup pearled barley
2 cups cracked oats
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup soy sauce or Bragg's amino acids
2 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2-3 Tbsp crushed fennel seeds (important!)
8 whole bay leaves (important!)
2 cloves crushed garlic
cayenne, red pepper flakes, etc to taste
other herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.

The directions are simple: boil everything in a large pot with enough water to make a thick "porridge." Taste to make sure grains are tender and cooked through and to adjust the seasonings. I like my goetta with extra fennel seeds. Make sure the mixture is really thick, and then pour into bread pans or a casserole dish of some kind. Cover with plastic and refrigerate to harden.
Cooking directions: cut slices of goetta 1/2" - 3/4" thick and pan fry in butter or oil (or bacon fat) until crispy on both sides. Sometimes it falls apart, which is fine. You can eat it plain or with some kind of sauce. I like to serve it with sauted kale/chard and a poached egg - it's so good!

For some reason, I had never googled what goetta actually is. I now have googled it and: it is a German food made from ground meat and oats that you put into sausages or let harden in a container before slicing and pan frying it. Which is exactly how you make the vegan goetta. I was surprised to learn there was an actual meat based food that this vegan goetta was copying, because the vegan recipe had such strange preparation.
Try it out, it's so satisfying. Cracked oats and lentils flavored like breakfast sausage Mmm, mmm, mmm.
*Goetta is really popular in Cincinnati (which makes sense that my Aunt and Uncle love it because they lived there for a while) - maybe even more popular than it ever was in Germany - and they have an annual goettafest.
*Another goetta fact: the largest commercial goetta producer sells 99% of it's product in Cincinnati.