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