Category: erin is …

It started with legwarmers

Mad crafting skills, eh? When I was about 10 years old, I was obsessed with a book series called “Satin Slippers.” This was in the throes of my ballet obsession and my desire to be a ballerina even though I’d only had a year or so of dance classes, didn’t have any especial talent, and wasn’t able to continue dance lessons. I would dance in my bedroom, making up my own steps and dreams of ballet stages and futures flowing around me.

Somewhere around then, I found my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens craft books. They were a series of books you could use to self-teach various things, and one of them was about knitting. The ballerinas in my book series were always knitting their own leg warmers, and I suddenly saw a way to be even MORE like them. Never mind that I didn’t understand knitting in the round or seaming, my stitches were twisted, and gauge was WAY beyond me. I taught myself how to knit, how to purl, and I went after it. Eventually the fascination faded and my knitting, such as it was, went back in the closet.

I think I picked up the needles again to try and make baby presents or other Christmas gifts … Something like that. Maybe a dog sweater? That was at least 10 years ago, and since then I’ve become more of a real knitter. I’m not that adventurous (no steeking … I can’t even get brave enough for color work) and I’m a lazy knitter. I like seamless, I hate double pointed needles, and I even decided I’m just knitting toe-up socks because I suck at joining in the round for socks. But. I’ve made so many baby blankets, sweaters, scarves, socks, etc., that I know I CAN knit. I’m not the most amazing and definitely not the fastest, but I can create something from string. That’s amazing to me. I love making something and giving it away … The process of knitting is more soothing to me than the product, a lot of the time. I like small projects so that I can see progress and change quickly. Hats, cowl, shawlettes, baby sweaters, many socks that are destined to forever be alone out of their pair …

And just think … All of this warmth is owed to a ballet obsession and leg warmers. Mysterious ways, indeed.

A sweater for the baby: Hoot Cardigan
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Cocoon Link of BFF Cowl for a swap

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Elementary, Watson sock(s? … time will tell)
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Pinned That, Did That. Sort of.

I love trying out new sites, gadgets, apps, etc. Love it. I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon early on, and it’s been more useful than I thought it would be. Many meals, some clothes, knitting projects, room design, etc. have come from that wonderful Internet crowdsourcing.

Christmas seems like practically the main reason Pinterest exists. I mean, decorations, food to make, craft projects to aspire to and never actually complete, plus lots of starved half-naked women to motivate you to put down the Christmas cookies (or drink another winter sangria). (Seriously. Stop with the creepy/skanky “motivational” fitness pictures. That’s not what healthy looks like.)

So yes, I’ve done my share of pinning in the hopes of making spirits bright this holiday season. I don’t know if it’s nesting or what, but I’ve had wild hairs you know where to actually attempt some of them.

Exhibit A: Snowmen sandwiches.

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I like making fun shapes with cookie cutters, but I am definitely not up to bento competencies. I just admire from afar in the “You actually MADE lunch?!” seats. So this was a big deal for me!

Exhibit B: tomorrow our office is having a cookie exchange. My original plans waffled between pillsbury slice and bake cookies or faking labor to just not bother (but maybe also get a sympathy cookie. Shh.). Then, at supper tonight, I got inspired to make these:

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That’s right: marshmallow reindeer pops. They aren’t as perfect or perky as the original pinspiration (yeah, the lingo does get annoying), but they’ll do. Of course, then we have …

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Exhibit C: the also-rans from the reindeer pops beauty contest. Pins tell the happy successes and usually gloss over the “omg … why did I ever start this project ?!” moments. This project was fun and cute and all, but definitely not one I’d do when my kids are awake and wanting to help!

They will, however, enjoy the imperfect reindeer just as much as the pretty ones when they get a special snack after their (likely not to be pinned) lunch tomorrow. So lesson learned, Mom: keep it light and if you’re not enjoying it, quit pinning it.

Symphony of smells – aka dinner

11:40 a.m. Oh, I wish you could smell my house right now. I just finished prepping tonight’s supper for the crock pot and the aroma is DIVINE. We’re going to try this Smokey Roast recipe from Everyday Paleo* and probably these Barbecue Potatoes. (The potatoes have no barbecue seasoning, it’s just referring to an option for the cooking method.)

*I’ll freely admit that I don’t get the Paleo thing. My rudimentary understanding is you eat only foods or use methods of food prep that were available in Paleolithic times … and I’m even fuzzy on that. So when I see paleo brownies and paleo nutrition bars, I get a little skeptical. It does make it easier to search for food that doesn’t include “package of …” ingredients, though.

I guess you could say I’m “inspired by” this recipe instead of actually following it? I’m using the Penzey’s Spices Arizona Dreaming blend instead of making the suggested spice rub and it’s HEAVENLY. Ingredients: ancho chili pepper, black pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, spices, cumin, citric acid, Mexican oregano, cilantro, lemon peel, chipotle pepper, red pepper, jalapeño, cocoa, natural smoke flavoring. This is also known as some of my favorite spices and herbs all rolled up into one.

I’m not usually a big believer in the browning/searing before putting in the crock pot, but it does seem to make a difference with beef. Today it made a HUGE impact in the spices. I heated the dollops of coconut oil, seared the meat on each side, and heady scents exploded throughout the house.

We still have four more hours of this thing cooking …