Tuesday, September 29, 2015

International Book Week: Random sentence from your nearest book

It's International Book Week, and to celebrate, I'm borrowing an exercise that's currently making the rounds over on Facebook. 

The rules: grab the book closest to you, turn to page 52 then post the 5th sentence, here below. Don't mention the title. Then copy the rules of the game and post to your Facebook page or blog, if you like.

I don't see why you shouldn't reveal your title (unless it's 50 Shades of Whatever, maybe). The top book on my desk stack happened to be the 1907 edition of "A Woman's Hardy Garden" by Helena Rutherfurd Ely.

On page 52 I found this:

"And even as the mahogany of our grandfathers is now brought forth from garrets and unused rooms, and antiquity shops and farm-houses are searched for the good old-time furniture, so we are learning to take the old gardens for our models, and the old-fashioned flowers to fill our borders."

Worth a moment of contemplation, I thought.

Designer, kNotes for kNitters 
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters 
Grower, Maggie’s Microgreens 
Sandia Park, New Mexico

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Score! Mid-Century Sugar Bowl in 1948 Dove Gray “Ballerina” Pattern


Oooh, I’m so excited to have found this wonderful mid-century sugar bowl for my microgreens!


I love the fat round “coupe” shape of the bowl, the lacy ring-shaped handles and lid finial, and most of all, the beautiful dove gray color!


This piece is from the “Ballerina” pattern, union made in Cambridge, Ohio by Universal Potteries, designed by Alf Robson.

ballerina_brochureUniversal Potteries introduced the Ballerina pattern in 1948, in four colors: Periwinkle Blue, Jonquil Yellow, Jade Green, and this Dove Grey.

At left is a Ballerina advertising brochure showing one of the 4 new colors introduced in 1949 – Burgundy – along with Forest Green, Chartreuse and Sierra Rust.

Then in 1955 the last 4 color sets were released, in Pink, Charcoal (which looks black), Turquoise Blue and Antique White.

In addition to the solid color pieces like mine, Ballerina pieces were also made with decorative decals. (Personally, I prefer the solid colors.)

The size & shape of this sugar bowl make it the perfect mini-garden planter: the bowl interior is about 4-1/2 inches wide and 2-3/4 inches tall. It's ideal for growing a larger crop of microgreens than a teacup, but it’s still counter top scale.

Here’s how it looks planted with organic arugula microgreens … sweet!


So far I’ve only found one of these – and I was especially lucky to find this one WITH its original lid, AND in pristine condition. Woot!

I’ve already made up the microgreens kit in my Etsy shop, and I also offer the organic arugula seeds separately. For the time being at least this planter kit is one of a kind … but I’ll keep looking …

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Grower, Maggie’s Microgreens
Sandia Park, New Mexico

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Almost Famous! Happy Hands Hand Cream Featured in German Knitting Magazine


TheKnitter_750My Happy Hands hand cream was featured in Germany’s leading knitting magazine, The Knitter!

Big time thanks for this feature to our German wholesale partner, the Knitty Bitty shop in Erfurt, Germany.

Knitty Bitty currently carries 7 of my 32 Happy Hands hand cream fragrances: Cucumber Melon, Grapefruit Twist, Mango Orange, Sandia Sage & Lavender, Tall Cotton, White Tea & Ginger, and Unscented.

According to Angela Mühlpfordt, Knitty Bitty’s owner, the best-selling scent in Germany is Tall Cotton, a light, clean scent also popular here in the States - one of my top three all-time bestsellers, along with Sandia Sage & Lavender and Hippie Chick (a kinder, gentler patchouli).


Since the steep increase in USPS international package shipping rates this January, it’s nice to know my European customers now have a local buying option.

Customers can purchase my Happy Hands hand cream from the Knitty Bitty shop in Erfurt, or order online through Knitty Bitty’s website at http://www.knittybitty.de .

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Grower, Maggie’s Microgreens
Sandia Park, New Mexico

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade Tomato-Beef Soup with Microgreen Garnish

While most cooks use microgreens only in cold dishes like salads and smoothies, I like to find ways to incorporate their tasty goodness into hot dishes as well … especially soup.

This can be a challenge, as heat rapidly wilts the delicate greens. My secret technique to keep microgreens bright and crisp atop a steaming bowl of soup, all the way to the table? Float the freshly-snipped greens on a protective – and delicious! – layer of grated cheese, or a dollop of cool plain yogurt, just before serving.


Mustard_closeupWhile you can use this layering strategy for any hot soup, with any microgreens you like, I am particularly fond of peppery Oriental mustard microgreens atop hearty, homemade tomato soup.

This past week has been wintry, so I found myself craving the warmth and comfort of tomato soup.

I started with a new-to-me recipe from Onceamonthmom.com, and tweaked it to our family taste for hot stuff – adding roasted New Mexico green chilies to the mix, and topping it with sharp Cheddar cheese and the aforementioned Oriental mustard microgreens.

Here’s what I made:

Tomato & Beef Soup with Microgreen Garnish

Makes 4 Servings
Adapted from Christine @ Onceamonthmom.com


2 cans (14.5-oz ea) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk, canned or carton
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup peeled & diced roasted green chilies
1 pound ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup homemade chicken broth

Garnish: Grated cheese and freshly snipped microgreens


In a blender or food processor, combine diced tomatoes and coconut. Blend until smooth. Reserve.

Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot. Sauté onions and green chilies together until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add ground beef, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring to break up large chunks, until beef is browned and crumbly. Drain off excess fat.

Return stock pot with drained beef mixture to heat. Stir in blended tomato/coconut mixture and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Ladle soup into 4 serving bowls. Top each with grated cheese of choice (I like sharp cheddar), then sprinkle freshly snipped microgreens over the cheese. Serve immediately!

Note: You can substitute a tablespoon of plain yogurt (low-fat or full-fat) per bowl for the grated cheese. The yogurt should be at cool room temperature before garnishing your soup.


I like Christine’s technique of blending the tomatoes and the coconut milk before adding to the soup! And when winter forces you to fall back on commercially canned tomatoes, choosing “fire roasted” tomatoes really adds color and texture to your soup.

I should note that the original recipe works beautifully for a Paleo diet. Just leave out my grated cheese if you’re Paleo-ing – what the heck, so your microgreens wilt a bit, right?


Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Grower, Maggie’s Microgreens
Sandia Park, New Mexico

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Swiss Cheese Scarf–Another Knitting Project Done, Yay!

I’ve just bound off my Swiss Cheese Scarf, and I’m so pleased – even if my mom does think (rightly, I guess) that it resembles one of those rubber strip doormats …
I knitted this up from Winnie Shih’s free knitting pattern, downloadable from Ravelry, using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport yarn in the Mineshaft colorway. Is this gorgeous yarn, or what?
Lorna's Laces Mineshaft
I edited Winnie’s pattern for my sport weight yarn (gauge 6 sts per inch on US 4 for an 8” wide scarf) as follows:
CO 48 sts
Rows 1 - 6: Knit
Row 7: K3 (BO6, K6) 3 times, BO6, K3
Row 8: K3 (CO6, K6) 3 times, CO6, K3
Rows 9 - 14: Knit
Row 15: BO3, K6 (BO6, K6) 3 times, K3
Row 16: BO3, K6 (CO6, K6) 3 times, CO3
Row 17: Knit to end, CO3
This modification gives you alternating 3 and 4 holes per holey row.
I gave up on the backwards loop cast-on she uses, I just couldn’t get it to look right. Instead, I used a cable cast-on, which meant I had to flip the scarf each time, but it looked better.
I love the finished scarf and so does DH, so we can share it - and I enjoyed the pattern. I didn’t mind the tedium of all the bind-offs and cast-ons, I actually found it soothing! This was a great travel & TV-watching project.
I might have liked the finished scarf to be a bit longer (my version came out 58” long) but I didn’t have more of the yarn and was ready to move on anyway … next up, I’ll be knitting another of Cat Bordhi’s awesome Anemone Hats (number 5!), this one for my nephew. I swear, every time I wear my Anemone Hat in public someone begs me to knit one for them!

ETA: Duh, I hadn’t blocked the scarf when I took the measurement! Blocked length is a generous 71 inches, and blocking made the holes nice & round. Here's the "after blocking" photo. Dang, what a difference!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Grower, Maggie’s Microgreens
Sandia Park, New Mexico

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let it snow …



Oh the weather outside is frightful

But the fire is so delightful

And since we've no place to go

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Stay warm, y’all!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Sandia Park, NM

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Decoupaged Suitcase - Quickie Project!


The night before I flew to Austin I took a long, hard look at my favorite suitcase. It’s a “million-miler” bag that’s traveled all over the world, still sturdy with maybe another million miles left in its useful life.

But it’s solid black.

Seriously, how many solid black suitcases have you seen on the baggage belt? Hundreds? Thousands? The only problem with this bag is how hard it is to identify it at luggage claim.

I’ve tried tying various flashy objects to this suitcase on previous trips. Christmas tinsel, worry dolls, fuzzy yarn – you name it. But every time my embellishments have been torn off in transit, or looked ridiculous. I wanted a more permanent solution to the basic black bag.

So, the night before I flew to Austin, I decided to decoupage my suitcase. And thanks to the bone-dry climate of our high mountain desert, it was done and ready to pack an hour later.

While I would have liked to go completely crazy with this decoupage project, with maybe Frida Kahlo and dancing skeletons, I only had an hour to work on this – AND my husband also uses the suitcase, so understatement was the order of the day.

Here are the finished pix, taken AFTER I flew to Austin and back again. I was thrilled to see how well the decoupage survived the armies of baggage handlers!




How I Did It in Under an Hour:

  • First, I located the flattest, least-flexible part of the suitcase – which was around the reinforcing frame of this particular bag – and measured it.
  • Next, I cut a strip of gift wrapping paper to my measurements, in this case, a strip 2-1/2” wide by 66 inches long. I did a “dry wrap” to be sure that the strip fit the frame.
  • I’ve had best luck decoupaging paper that’s wet. So I rolled the long strip into a loose circular roll, and dropped it into a bowl of water.
  • I immediately swiped Mod Podge around the frame of the suitcase using a foam brush. I worked as quickly as I could so that meanwhile the paper didn’t soften too much in the water.
  • Then – the moment of truth – I removed the paper from the bowl of water and allowed the excess water to drip off as I unscrolled it.
  • I picked the midpoint of the paper and began to apply the paper to the pre-Mod-Podged band around the suitcase, starting at the top center, moving down the sides, finally wrapping around the lower corners to meet at the bottom center.
  • I sealed the strip of paper to the suitcase with more Mod Podge – this project used quite a bit of the stuff – pressing out any air bubbles with wet fingertips as I worked.
  • After this coat of Mod Podge was completely dry, I applied a second coat.

And done! At the airport I recognized my bag immediately! And as I said, the decoupaged paper held up remarkably well to its first round trip.

I can’t wait to do another …

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Creator, Happy Hands Hand Cream for Knitters
Sandia Park, NM