a year full of love

Cheers to a New Year sweet friends!  I'm wishing you a year full of health and happiness with A LOT of knitting sprinkled in your days.

our made gifts

As I mentioned, for our family gift giving, I decided to throw our five names into a hat.  Each person choosing one name.  One name, one handmade gift.  
Apparently my family has a thing for sticks.  I didn't get the memo.  
To:  Me
Love:  Charlie
I am in love with this gift.  And the word Charlie chose to paint.  Stay.  It really is a wonderful word.
To:  Andrew
Love:  Libby
*To hang next to his American Flag.  
To:  Charlie
Love:  Andrew
*It's a music note, of course.
To:  Libby
Love:  Steve

seven days of making, day 7

Day 7 :: Ankle Socks
{Poor Andrew.  😁}
Wow.  I can't believe how quickly Christmas Day went!

  Very grateful that my kids love hand knit socks so much.  They like to wear them as their "slippers". I am still in the process of making the kids each a pair of ankle socks, coordinating with their school affiliation.  Libby's with her Sorority.  They each only received one... I have promised to send each one of the college kids back to school with their mate!

Hope you all had a beautiful day filled with everything you love.

xx, leslie

seven days of making, day 6

Day 6 :: Two new recipes.
I usually make the same Christmas cookies every year.  Which is great, cause I know they are loved and also because I love the comfort of tradition.  But this year, I decided to add a couple of new ones to the mix.  
The Peppermint Pattie Brownies stole the show.  Oh my.  Honestly, I am not even a chocolate person. I always prefer anything vanilla flavored over chocolate.  But these?  Truly AMAZING.  And for those chocolate lovers who don't like peppermint?  I highly recommend the World Peace Cookies.  Now and Forever.  

Happy Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

seven days of making, day 5

Day 5 :: Cow Hide Coasters
This year, for Christmas, we decided one gift for one family member.  The only rule?  The gift had to be handmade.  So, the five of us threw our name into a hat.  I ended up choosing Steve's name and was so happy because I had been wanting to make these coasters ever since I saw them.  
They really are super easy.
I purchased the faux white leather here.  Traced the pattern.  Cut.  And colored with sharpies.  It truly could not have been easier!

seven days of making, day 3

Christmas time truly is my favorite time to make homemade gifts.  My mother and sisters are usually the lucky recipients.  😜 
While I was just in Florida, my sister pulled out all the things I have made her.  She seriously does like them!  
I was gifted some laminated fabric back in the fall.  Mostly sample sizes and odds and ends.  Since this fabric reminded me of my sister, Shelly,  I decided to make her something.  
 This little project was perfect.  Seriously the easiest sewing project, ever.  The YouTube video was extremely helpful.  To help me through, I truly played the video while constructing, paused the video, sewed, and then proceeded to the next step using the video.  SO easy!
A bright fabric inside should make my sister happy every time she looks inside.

seven days of making, day 2

Day 2 :: Homemade Lip/Hand Balm
         { Chalk Lots Minis kept our balm's organized. } 
Not sure if I have ever mentioned what a fan I am of Young Living Essential Oils before... but I am!  I love my diffuser and have that thing going most of the time.  I use the oils on my skin and in my water.  There truly are 101 uses and benefits of Essential Oils; health and beauty!   I did some research before I dove in and found Young Living to be one of the purest oils produced.  I purchased my started kit from Ashley and have been loving them ever since.  If you have any questions about oils or are interested in buying them, please contact Ashley.  EssentialAshley at gmail dot com.  She will be your friend and your complete educator and she will constantly inspire you.  (Kits are 15% off until the end of December!)
Libby and I invited a couple of friends over, and had a lip balm party using our beloved oils.  We used these larger tins and these smaller containers.  (You can make tubes if you prefer!)   I love the larger tins and use this balm as a hand moisturizer.  Especially helpful for us knitters!  It truly feels incredible.  And, breathe in the scent... instant calm.

seven days of making, day 1

I decided to show you seven days of what I am making.  I guess I should have started yesterday since Christmas is 6 days away.  Say WHAT?  
Day 1 :: Pepper Nuts.
I have mentioned pepper nuts before, but definitely think they are worthy of another mention.  My mom and I made these last week in Florida.  Baking in between rows works perfectly!
The name pepper is given because they contain pepper.  They are actually nut free. Egg free, too.  Every time I go to make them, I think about trying a different flour.  Almond, maybe?  But then, I figure, why mess with what I know to work!  I will try one day... and will be sure to let you know.
This recipe makes a lot.  Enough to keep some in the freezer to pull out on those afternoons or evenings when it's you and your yarn. They are the perfect companions.  And a great crispy, spicy treat.
The last time I posted this, I had a sweet comment from Schone Vrouw from Holland.  Schone mentioned that this is an old Dutch recipe.  They celebrate Sinterklass (we call him Santa Claus) on the 5th of December.  Sinterklaas gives presents and he has Pieten to help him.  It is very traditional and according to the legend of St. Nicolass, he threw money for a girl to get out of trouble.  This money is represented by pepper nuts.  In holland, they call something very expensive "peperduur" because of the 16th century price of pepper.  The Sinterklaas tradition started somewhere around that time. Hence, the name pepper nuts!
Pepper Nuts:
3 sticks of butter, melted
6 cups of flour
3 cups of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup room temp water
Mix dry ingredients.  Add melted butter and slowly add water.  Dough will be sticky.  Roll dough into "snakes" and place on cookie sheet.  Pop into the freezer until firm.  Cut with scissors into small pieces.  Lay on cookie sheet being careful not to place pieces too close to each other.  Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes.

my mom

I just returned from a quick Christmas visit with my mom in Florida.  My mom misses my Dad more than she can ever explain.  She misses the person she used to be.  She misses being able to knit beautiful sweaters.  She misses the way her brain used to work.
I am so proud of my mom.  My mom is the one person in the world who has taught me more about life and living than anyone else.  She truly is my hero.
Moral of the story... Kiss your mom.  Hug her tight.  And knit all the beautiful sweaters you can.

these ankle socks!

Okay, friends.  These ankle socks are my new favorite!  I was drawn to them because it calls for worsted weight yarn.  And because I thought it would be a great sock to wear with boots.  I'm not a fan of pulling a sock up over my jean before I put on my boots.  So, I thought these would be a great solution.  Also, using a size 5 needle, along with an inexpensive machine washable and dryable yarn?  IN!
When I started them, they were for me.  However, I have since then thought of the perfect person to gift them to.  You can probably whip up a pair before Christmas.  I promise!  They go fast.  Go get some yarn today! (It's on sale!) I'll be casting on this weekend for another pair.  Going to do the toe, heel and ribbing in a contrasting color.

Pattern:  Home Ankle Socks
Yarn:  Lion Brand Wool-Ease 1 ball
Needles:  Size 5 double points

mrs. donato's nut horns

 Growing up, we had a neighbor who absolutely loved her job of being a homemaker.  Her home was extremely tidy.  Not a thing out of place.  Her kitchen small, efficient and wonderfully cozy.  Her living room was like a showroom to me.  The furniture was perfectly placed.  The pillows were always fluffed.  The vacuum marks in her carpet were always visible. There was art on the walls and ribbon candy in her candy dishes.  Always, ribbon candy.
Her name was Olga Donato.  Mrs. Donato, to me.  Mrs. Donato took care of everything inside the house.  While Mr. Donato took care of everything outside.  They liked chachkies and had them inside as well as outside.  I loved going to their home.  It was like a museum to me. Occationally they would have us for pasta dinner.  Her sauce was absolutely incredible.  We would sit in their tidy dining room with the shiny, antique dining table.  I wouldn't talk much.  Not because I was shy, (because I was!) but because the sights and smells where just too good.  
Mrs. Donato made Nuthorns every year at Christmas time.  She kept them in a tin with foil.  I loved visiting her.  She would hand me a paper napkin with two cookies wrapped inside.  I would sit with the napkin over my lap getting powdered sugar on my pants.  She would send me outside to brush the powdered sugar from my legs. 
My mother emailed me Olga Donato's Nut Horn Recipe in 2002.  I'm so happy I printed it and saved it.  I just love how my mother wished me luck!  

Mrs. Donato's Nut Horns:
8 oz cream cheese  ::  1/2 pound of butter  ::  2 egg yolks  ::  2 1/2 cups flour  ::  1/4 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients.  Separate dough into 4 balls.  Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Sprinkle powdered sugar and roll out dough into a circle.  Slice circle into 12 triangles.  Spoon Nut filling (below) onto long end.  Roll.  Place on cookie sheet, fold side down.  Bake 350° for 12 minutes.  Sprinkle or roll in powdered sugar before cool.  

1 pound chopped walnuts  ::  1 cup sugar  ::  2 egg whites
Beat egg whites until stiff.  Add sugar.  Fold in nuts.

Thank you so much, Mrs. Donato.  For all you did for me.  

scarlet and gray

 I made these fingerless gloves so that I could look like a great fan of The Ohio State University.  Since my Charlie is a Buckeye,  I thought I needed a little school spirit, also!
(Thanks for the emails.  He is fine.  Praying for all of those involved.)
 You can change the colors to color you prefer.  Whether it be colors to show your school spirit, your team spirit or just your favorite colors.  (I want to make a grey and navy pair.  One of my favorite color combos. )
Pattern available here.   Enjoy!

Happy December!

our sunset thanksgiving

Since we were spending Thanksgiving out west we decided to take our Sunset Magazine with us and have a completely non-traditional Thanksgiving.  Sunset featured a FoolProof Feast we decided to try.  We made the list (on a Chalk Lots!), bought the ingredients and then drew names out of a hat as to which dish each person would make.  Getting the kids involved was so much fun!  Just watching them try to figure out how long their recipe would take and exactly how it would be made was comical.  And their personalities completely showed!  I had the joy of making the Pumpkin Ice Cream Gingersnap pie.  Yumm!
We started the day with Pumpkin Scones... they were A M A Z I N G.

thanksgiving 2016

Happy Saturday, friends!

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of love and included time spent with family and friends.
Lake Tahoe was incredible.  I feel completely blessed to have been there with these five.

We had a completely non-traditional Thanksgiving from traveling to preparing all new recipes for our Thanksgiving feast.  I can't wait to share.

scarlet and gray

I finished this pair of mitts, whose colors represent OSU, where my Charlie goes to school.  I think they would be great in any color combo, representing a school or not.
I'll share the pattern soon!
I've been trying to knit, but nursing an infection/allergy of my eyes, due to eyelash extensions.  Yes.  I tried them.  I LOVED them.  I had a reaction.  I had to have them removed.  They were so much fun until the reaction!
Headed to Lake Tahoe tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Something new and different.  I'm super excited!
Happy weekend, friends.


 I made a pair of Dashing Mitts 100 years ago.  They were one of my absolute favorites.  Squishy, twisted cables wrapped around my wrist.  Oh, I just love that!
While we were in Alaska, last summer, I met a darling girl who was living and working at Glacier National Lodge.  Over the next three days we quickly became besties.  I wanted to give her something when we left, as my token of appreciation for her lovely soul.  I gave her my old, dirty, dashing mitts.  (So sweet, right?! She seemed to be thrilled.  Honest!)
We then traveled to the quaint town of Sitka, where I stumbled upon a yarn shop.  I picked up the yummiest skeins of Madelinetosh.  You know the kind of yarn when you pick it up and you have the urge to eat it?  (Oh.  That doesn't happen to you?  Me neither.)  I decided this yarn would become a pair of Dashing.  A really delicious pair of dashing.
Pattern:  Dashing
Yarn: Madelinetosh Vingage, Firewood


Friends! Bottle those little people!
How did this happen?!
Seventeen balloons.
My BABY is seventeen!
Happy Birthday to my most favorite seventeen year old in the whole, wide, GLORIOUS world.

libby's camping sweater

The story of Libby's new horse blanket sweater:
My girlfriend's daughter made my girlfriend the cutest sweater.  (Yep.  Awesome young knitter.)  My girlfriend loves it.  So do I.    My girlfriend decided she wants to make herself another one.  I decide I want to make one, too.  It will be a gift to Libby for her Birthday.  
We decide to make a quick knit along.  We give ourselves dates, within a 4 week period, to achieve certain points in the pattern.    My girlfriend heads to JoAnns to buy her yarn.  I have yarn in my stash, gifted to me from my sweet boss.  (Who discarded her new hobby of knitting when she decided knitting an arm pillow really wasn't for her.)  I decide to use this gifted yarn.
I don't check the label on this yarn, but am certain it is the yarn that the pattern calls for.  I knit the sweater with this yarn.  The yarn drys the skin on my hands.  My fingers are sore after all of the pushing down the needle.  I finally read the label.  The yarn is thick and quick, not chunky.  The sweater ends up being the weight of a horse blanket.   I tell Libby it looks great and should be her camping sweater.  (I could never wear this sweater.)  She graciously tells me how awesome this sweater is.  I decide at some point I will buy the correct yarn and replace her sweater.  I hope it happens before she graduates from college.  The end.

Pattern:  Oatmeal Pullover
Needles:  US 10.5
Yarn:  4 balls Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky  (This is what I SHOULD have used.)
Size: 36
Mods:  No mods.  Just the wrong yarn. :)


Okay.  I am completely and utterly in love with Boulder, Colorado.  I know... I should just get in line. It is hard NOT to fall in love with that place.  
 My sweet girl, Libby, turned nineteen last Thursday.  SO HARD TO BELIEVE.  I haven't seen her since we took her to school in August. (2 1/2 months!)  We decided to head out to celebrate with her.
 She wanted a picnic lunch on the mountains.  So, that is exactly what we did.
Sandwiches.  3 balloons instead of 19.  And a store bought cake instead of homemade.  It was absolutely perfect.
A few other things I want to remember:
Awesome dinner at Scotts on Alpine, Dushanbe Teahouse (best breakfast!), CorePower yoga, Flatirons hike, Farmers Market, CU vs. UCLA game (Go BUFFS!), mountain drive, meeting Jo, beer at The Sink, Boss Lady Pizza, Dinner at Aloy Thai.  The yarn store I want to go to next time.

I knit Libby a super quick gift.  I'll be back tomorrow to show.

the winners

Happy Halloween, sweet peeps!
Sorry for the delay regarding the book giveaways.
The random number generator did its thing.

Cowl Girls 2 :: #23,  Lise Jackson
Knit a square ::  #42, Mandy
60 quick knits for little kids ::  #14,  Meg
Please email me with your address, and I'll make sure the books land in your mailbox.
{Andrew, October 31, 2010.  Seriously cracks me up.}

My friend, Amy, shared an article.  I think you are gonna love it.  I believe the author to be true.  Knitters really are kind!

60 quick knits for little kids giveaway

These quick knit books are my favorite.  And, I think you can probably tell this is my favorite of all three giveaways. Oh my gosh!
My favorite thing to knit are items for my kids.  It just seems, as if, that window of opportunity for me, was smaller than I would have wanted it to be.  Once they hit middle school, there was very little knitting for the boys.  And, just a little more for Libby.
Thankfully hats and gloves have always been a nice constant.
This would have been great for my Andrew who didn't like coats.  I could have just thrown this over his head and off we would go.
There are several adorable hat patterns in the book.  Some with matching mittens.  Some with matching scarves.  Some with ear flaps.  And the most adorable Fox Hat you ever did see.  (Our school mascot is the Fox!)
Boy and girl sweaters.  Pull overs and Cardigans.  Ponchos and capes.  Bow ties and dresses.
This truly is one of the cutest kids books I have seen in a while!

If interested in 60 quick knits for little kids, please leave a comment here.  I'll be back after the 27th to announce who the random number generator chooses of all three giveaways.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!