Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pineapples for Christmas

Gentle readers, due to the unpredictable nature of winter weather in the Midwest, I find myself at home tonight instead of watching Nathan Lane in the new production of the Addam's Family Musical. Sigh. But we have a nice Cozy fire, popcorn, and Lord of the Rings on TV so all is not lost.

In the meantime I can talk about my Newest project- a Regency period Pineapple Reticule. Tiny little pineapple purse- how cool is that?!

You can find the original pattern (or "receipt" as they called it then) at the Jane Austen Today site linked HERE as well as an updated version for those of us unsure how to read 200 year old knitting notation.

My aim is accuracy so I will be working with thread weight yarn... usually used for weaving. I think my needles are 000... 3-0!

Buying the yarn was great since I got to browse Web's selection of bamboo, silk, cotton and tencel thread and then wind off exactly what I wanted. Just look how gorgeous.
So stay tuned to see how this project unfolds, and in the meantime have a very Merry, Safe, and Sweet Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Very Merry Cookies Post

'Tis that time of year... holiday cheer, sweet treats, and snowstorms on the East Coast making headlines. I thought I'd select the first and second options to talk about today (the 3rd is certainly getting talked about by plenty of other folks).

The following recipe is a family tradition. We have the original recipe torn out of a magazine and slipped into a plastic sleeve... every year there is a mini crisis while we try to find this precious piece of high gloss paper. I'm going to post it here, sharing and preserving it for years to come!

Spritz cookies is what we're talking. Remember that old aluminum press your mother or grandmother pulled out once or twice a year to make cookies? Looks like this:

They are getting hard to find... this one was actually a Christmas present from my darling mother- she found it on Etsy amongst the "vintage" items! Nowadays they all seem to have a "gun" thing going on.What does that say about society?

But I digress. Ok, so you have your press, gun shaped or old school. A stand mixer is nice though not strictly necessary, and some food dye sends these cookies over the top.

Spritz Butter Cookie Recipe

1C butter, room temperature
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C flour
(I usually AT LEAST double this recipe. Doubled it makes enough to fill a 3" tall 8" diameter tin with about 20 cookies left over...)

Cream butter in mixer. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually add in flour until dough reaches a play-doh-like consistency.

Divide dough into 3 portions and add dye. I like to do 1 part white, 1 part red, and a little more than 1 part green. Don't be afraid to use a lot of dye. I find the gel kind works better to make brighter cookies.Now the fun part. You have endless possibilities in combining colors in the press. I like to make Christmas trees, wreaths, and poinsettias (ok, they are really just swirlies, but I think they look like poinsettias). You can also add sprinkles as desired! I don't know how the gun versions work, but you'll want to screw down the cookie press until you can just see the cookie coming out from underneath the press, then lift straight up.

Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Here are a few spritz cookie tutorial photos:
Plain old lovely green trees.
Tri-color wreaths.

Red and White Poinsettias.


Enjoy your cookies with a glass of cold milk or leave them out for Santa (if there are any left). Just don't let the bad cat get them.
Cheers! (And remember the free shipping at my Etsy shop until 12/21/09!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Headlines photo and my first gift guide!!

SO Excited! Etsy accepted my work into one of their gift guides... And my hat is the headliner photo! Wooooo!

Go HERE to see the whole gift guide.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shameless request for your votes

My winter white pine painting has been featured in a contest over at StudioHaus's Blog! Go HERE to see the contest and vote!

(You don't really have to vote for me... they are all great pieces of art!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Scarf Post... AND Super Shipping Sale

Here it is... Twisted Minuet Lace Pattern Scarf: A Dissection. Hmmm. That makes it sound a bit gruesome. It's not. Really.

***Scalpels and probes aside, here is a quick plug for my last sale of the year. FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING on EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop. That means an average of 2-3 day delivery and a value of around $5.... Ends 12/21- Take advantage NOW for delivery for Christmas!!!***

And another WMASS Treasury can be found HERE!

And onward.
I haven't created any lace patterns from scratch although I've been knitting lace for a while, so I decided to use some of my favorite resources for ideas and build from there. These 2 books are wonderful old friends... (And would also make great presents for your knitting buddies)
1. James Norbury's Traditional Knitting Patterns
2. Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia

My yarn was a yummy worsted weight wool/baby alpaca/silk blend from Valley Yarns - just down the road, incidentally. This is their "Northfield Blend". I was looking for something fairly substantial (ie not ALL lace), and easy to memorize. If you've ever knit a complicated pattern scarf where you constantly have to refer back to the pattern, you know what I mean. I found two patterns that I liked and commenced to scribbling, combining and knitting:

At this point I liked the width of the scarf and stitch texture, but the separate lace edge plus pattern look wasn't doing it for me. I really liked the lace edge by itself, and if it could be spiced up a bit... There was a great "twist" stitch in the main body pattern that I incorporated into the lace edge. Basically like a cable over two stitches. With that in place I frogged and started over.
Everything was going along swimmingly, but the edges were getting very curly. Apparently the "twist" was taking itself quite literally. Before I knit several feet of curly scarf I decided to make sure blocking would take care of the issue.
Lovely non-curly scarf. Now all that remained to do was knit... and knit... and knit. 78 inches later... (ok, so I like long scarves. I mean, what's the point if you can't wrap them around your neck?) Final Blocking!!

Who knew creating a lowly scarf required so many steps? But see the previous post for why it is all worth it. :o)

Here is the great part- do you want to knit this scarf? The pattern repeats every 4 rows, which means it is super easy to memorize and a GREAT pattern for someone who has never knit with lace before. Just leave a comment saying that you want the pattern along with the email you want it sent to and I will send you a pdf! In the next few days I will get myself organized enough to put up a permanent sidebar link...


Monday, December 14, 2009


You've heard a lot about this scarf- well here it is- the finished product! Soon to follow will be the pattern and a "making of" blog. In the meantime my garnet wristers are currently being featured on sweet!

The good Mr. Bits thinks it has been too long since he was featured in a blog post- so here he is, enjoying his favorite part of winter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Buy Local, Buy Handmade!

Time to make a case for supporting your local artists, artisans, and economy. No matter where you live in the country there are very talented people who shop at your grocery store, send their kids to your school, and support your town! Wouldn't it be great if we could all support each other instead of sending money to big, faceless corporations?

Right now is a perfect time of year to get to know your local artists since it is Winter Art & Craft Show season! Check your local listings, newspapers, and coffee shops for flyers, then get out there and find the perfect holiday present.

In this theme, I've proudly started using the new stickers for our group- Artisans of WMASS -
Here are a few links to local shows for MY area... Click on the picture for more details. If you have any for here, there, or anywhere leave a comment. I'll put it up!

In other news, go HERE for a treasury I am honored to be part of.... and I have a shipping sale on right now in my etsy shop - $1 shipping on every item plus a free gift tag!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Super quick- Got a submission into Craftgawker! Remember the reindeer gift tags from a few posts ago? Go check 'em out! :o)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Digging out

I guess winter is here... hope everyone around the country who got socked with snow in the last few days is doing ok... now time to find the skis!

From update land: A new listing on etsy I am proud of and a new lace pattern of my own design. There will shortly be a post all about the "Twisted Minuet" pattern, including a FREE pdf for a scarf using the pattern! Woo!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And the Winner IS...

Bella's Bowtique!!!!

Congratulations! I will be sending you an email describing how to claim your prize, but in the meantime as a little bonus here are a few items from Bella's Bowtique's Etsy shop!

*There were 22 little pieces of paper to pick from... thanks everyone!*
Stay tuned for a Massive Blog Post of Doom involving an original scarf, free upcoming knitting pattern, and a pineapple!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Giveaway is over, thanks to all who entered!

Thank you all! The winner will be announced and contacted tomorrow!

Last Day: Holiday Card GiveAway!

Underhill House Handmade: Holiday Card GiveAway!
Ends TONIGHT at 11pm EST (that's 10 pm for all you midwesterners.) All you gotta do is leave a comment...Click the link above to see the cards- comment on this post or there!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Facebook Gadget

Quick note- check the gadget line up to the right to find our page on facebook!

Fire Treasury

Oh the weather outside is frightful... but the treasury is so delightful. Some lovely things to warm your heart! (And 2 more days until the drawing for free cards! See below!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snowflakes & Reindeer

Snow! Falling for the first time this year... I am inspired to get on with some holiday creations. After noodling around in the notebook for awhile (and sitting in front of the fire), I ended up with a reindeer... I wanted to go for a simple line drawing look, and sat down with paper and paint. I think this guy will eventually end up in our holiday greeting card line, but for now I got crafty and turned him into gift tags. Enjoy! (And don't forget to enter the Christmas Card Contest... see previous post.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Card GiveAway!

Time for the first round of free stuff from the Underhill House. It's a great time to be thinking about writing those Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice cards, so here is a give away to get you into gear! You get to chose one of the following designs and I send you eight 8.5" x 5.5" bifold greeting cards (plus envelopes).

Enter by simply leaving a comment on this post, by visiting and adding it to your favorites, then commenting on that here, follow my blog, or by blogging, tweeting, etc the contest and then leaving a comment here. Seperate comments mean more chances to win! The winner will be drawn December 8th at 11pm EST.

The options:Have fun!