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!