Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiber ... and Some Pinning Notes

Happy Friday everyone! On the fiber front, here's where I stand with my Tunisian Meets Tartan bag:
The three pieces of the bag were whipped up fairly quickly. Now I need to add the "tartan" (and I'll get to add that pop of heathered plum) and then commence finishing. However, my JAL participants requested more time, so we'll be at it through the end of October. If anyone is interested in joining us, there's still plenty of time. I probably won't pick this up again for a week or so, as I have a very full design plate at the moment.
As I blogged a little while back, I have a Pinterest account. I have been enjoying pinning things that catch my eye and inspire. Most of what I pin is by and large inspirational or fanciful ... except for ... well ... the food. Since I love to cook and eat (!), I've pinned many pins to my food board with the intention of trying the underlying dish. Recently, I did just that, and I thought I'd share my results with you (your results may, of course, vary):
1. Lemon Crinkle Cookies: (originally pinned by someone else from


To the right is what the cookies look like in the original pin/blogpost.

I repinned these onto my food board because I love citrus, the cookies look darn delicious, and sounded too easy to put together. I expect the last point should have been the tip-off for me, since 2 of the 4 ingredients are highly processed (box cake mix and whipped topping). They were, however, as advertised - super easy to put together, as you can see in my before baking photo:

My finished cookies actually looked pretty good:

However, then there's that eating thing. While I am not opposed to convenience food (especially boxed cake mixes), I usually doctor them up after baking, because they are a little ... well ... bland. These cookies look far better than they taste. If I ever made them again, I would definitely punch up the lemon flavor with some fresh zest or even a little squeezed juice. Ultimately, though, I didn't really like the texture of them - they were a little too cake-like for me. But, again, you might want to whip up a batch and check them out for yourself.

2. Chicken Broccoli Casserole (originally pinned by someone else from

Now, folks, I love me a good casserole - one pot, in the oven, resulting in several meals - oh yeah. I had roasted a chicken earlier and after having two meals with the dark meat (my eating m.o. when it comes to chicken), this seemed like the perfect way to use up the white meat plus the fresh broccoli I had in the fridge. But again, the recipe calls for canned cream of chicken soup. I haven't actually used canned soup of any kind in quite a while, and even though this dish came out perfectly fine:

I don't think I'll be making it again because of the processed, flavorless taste of the soup mix. There were some intriguing comments on the original blog entry, one of which noted the cook used alfredo sauce; another added curry. I think the massaman curry paste I tested recently for America's Test Kitchen would be a fantastic substitute here, omitting the cheese and probably subbing in a different veggie (although I did like the fresh broccoli in this - it was a great bright note amid the flat sauce), since there's a lot of ginger in the curry paste. As you can see, I'm pretty much remaking the entire dish.

So, while these pins will come down from my food board, there's one really good lesson learned - if there's too much prepared or processed food in the ingredients, I should skip it and move on. I don't begrudge any cook convenience but for me, my tastes have just radically changed. C'est la vie.

A totally gratuitous George Bailey photo ... and,
yes, he really was sleeping "on" the chair just like that

Now don't forget to head on over to Andrea's at Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see everyone else's tasty fiber plate this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday. May your weekend be filled with flavor ... and of course, fiber.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Some Gorgeous Fiber and a Bloggy Winner

Happy Friday, everyone! I do apologize for the lateness (comparatively speaking) of this week's Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. post, but it couldn't be avoided. Better late than not at all.
Initially, I must share with you the absolutely gorgeous fiber I received from Andrea (you know, the WonderWhyGal) in thanks for making her shawl:

Just check out that alpaca/merino/silk goodness. In an absolutely stunning purple overdye, no less (wine on the vine, aptly named). While I do realize that overdying the natural alpaca color might be sacrilege to some, this purple was calling to me (out of the two colorways Andrea provided as samples), so just color me sacrilegious ... and I'll happily do nothing but adore all this purple, squoishy goodness without one shred of guilt.

I should also say that Andrea was kind enough to slip two bars of goat's milk soap as well as some Kookaburra wash and a few other goodies into my thank you package. The soap smells wonderful; I can't wait to try it out. I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled with this exchange, thanks so much Andrea!
And now onto my Crochet! Magazine + LB Yarn giveaway. Please note I hand wrote all of the names on pieces of paper and gave them a good shake in the cup prior to a neutral third party doing the honors:

And the winner, thanks ever so much to one of my local, trusty baristas for his excellent assistance, is:

Karen, a blurry congratulations! I will be getting in touch with you (if you don't get in touch with me first) to work out the details of receiving your prize. I hope it provides hours of crochet goodness.

And now, do make certain you head on over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what everyone else is pulling out of their respective, fibery hats this week. I'll be battening down the hatches for a weekend of forecasted rain ... and loads of most excellent yarn work.

I'll be petting all the squoishy, purple fiber this weekend

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Very Special Finished Shawl ... and a Wee Give-Away

Amazingly, I have a finished project to share with everyone. I completed Andrea’s shawl late during the Labor Day weekend, and she received it at the beginning of this week.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that she loves it as much as she does.
There's that Wonder Why Gal, hamming it up
for the camera in her new favorite shawl

Andrea can thank me all she wants, but the pleasure was really all mine. There’s an almost vintage vibe to the finished shawl, especially with the addition of the silk lace weight she chose which I held double with her handspun. We've both agreed that the photos don't do it justice.

Maybe she’ll get a shot of it with Confetti Reign, the gorgeous alpaca who donated the fiber. He’s a keeper for certain.

On the current JAL front, I’ve just started working on my green Tunisian Meets Tartan bag. Here are the materials I've chosen:
Yarn is always so intriguing to me. I'm using four different Cascade 220 Superwash colorways, and all four of them have a different hand, mainly in the thickness department. The two heathers (the lichen and the plum) are definitely thinner in the hand than the sand and the natural. I wonder if the dye process accounts for the difference?
Finally, I have a magazine and yarnie give-away. As you all know, my most recent design, Les Lignes Area Rug, was just published in a special fall issue of Crochet! Magazine. I have a copy of the magazine (which is rather thick, folks) along with three skeins of Wool-ease Thick and Quick in bluebell and natural to get someone started on their very own area rug. In order to be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment here telling me how (or if) crochet helps you unwind after a long day, and if it doesn't, then how does it figure into your leisure time? I must admit, if I don't regularly knit or crochet at least a little each evening, I am not a very happy camper. I know many who design don't feel that way, but even now, I love both disciplines, and couldn't envision my life without hooks, needles and fiber, glorious fiber.
There are some nifty projects in this
special fall edition of Crochet! Magazine
You'll have until next Thursday evening, 9/19, to leave a comment. And, if you're a good little tweeter, you can earn an extra entry if you leave me a tweet at my brand, spanking new twitter handle @denisevoiedevie. Yes, folks, I'm kicking and screaming my way into the 21st century. Gah.

Do make certain you fly on over to Andrea's Wisdom Begins in Wonder and check out what everyone else is all atwitter about this Fiber Arts Friday.

One last look at all that handspun goodness

Friday, September 6, 2013

Oh Cone of Fiber

It's a lean Fiber Arts Friday pour moi - but it's definitely fiber focused.

Remember my One if By Hook Cardi wip? Well, since Vivian over at Bits and Pieces wound up not being able to access the cone of yarn she had previously given away on her blog (which I won and is the body of this cardi), I went on a search for alternate fiber and came up with this:

Vivian's won fiber on the left; my
replacement cone on the right

It's obviously darker than the original fiber, but I think will make for great color blocking on the arms. It also ties in nicely with the color of the trim bands, and since it's virtually the same weight and (feels) like the same fiber content as the original, I think it's going to work out well.

More on this cardi later, hopefully when it's tous finis. :)

Now get your fibery selves on over to Andrea's at Wisdom Begins in Wonder and leave your fiber cyberprints on this week's latest installment.