Wonderland Curiosity Shop

Curious, Interesting, Delicious, and Beautiful things.

Curiosity 11: Pumpkins!

Fall is definitely in the air here. The mornings are chilly and the afternoons are warm. I couldn’t resist knitting up a tiny pumpkin to go with our real pumpkins. I followed this pattern with a few modifications (Itty Bitty Pumpkin on Ravelry). I used fingering weight yarn and a size 1 US, 2.25mm needle, because I wanted a teeny, tiny pumpkin. I cast on 20 stitches instead of 30 and only knit rounds 3-16 before doing the last 2 rounds. I also only cast on 6 stitches for the stem and followed the directions from there. I want to make one that is even smaller, which you could do by casting on 10 stitches and knitting fewer plain rounds, so that you have a wide, squishy pumpkin and not a tall one. Although a tall pumpkin might be fun, if you wanted to embroider a cute pumpkin face on it!

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My kitty Zeus is even ready for fall!

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Beautiful 7: Lace Cardigan

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I completed a long standing work-in-progress this weekend. It is the lace cardigan of doom awesome. I really, really, really like this cardigan and I’m so happy with it, it is so soft and fits perfectly BUT I am not ready to forgive the knitted on edging yet. It took FOREVER! I knit the body in a week or two and the sleeves both went relatively quickly but the knitted on edging….YEARS! (ok maybe months….)

Here is is on me. It’s really soft (like wearing fluffy baby kitties) and it keeps me warm even though it’s lacy and thin.

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I totally want more of this yarn, it’s Malabrigo Lace and it’s single ply, so it’s soft and fiddly and I love it. I think it might pill easily but I really don’t care because it’s so soft. I wore it all day yesterday and no pilling so far!

 

Delicious 4: Easy GF Pasta Bake

For the last few years I have been making this simple baked pasta dish. It only takes 15 minutes or so to put together. The kids love it and it’s easy to do with pantry ingredients. It’s also really versatile, you can put almost anything in it. So those stray carrots or half empty bag of spinach can get used up. Most baked pasta dishes have you pre-cook the pasta, but that is such a pain, and especially for gluten free pasta, it normally falls apart if you try to cook it twice, so I developed a method to make it without having to pre-cook the pasta.

Ingredients:

1 box of your favorite Gluten Free pasta (we like Trader Joes’s, Tinkyada, Jovial and other brown rice/quinoa blends), uncooked

1 Jar of gluten free pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s 3 Cheese is good, but any kind will do. We have also enjoyed Barilla’s Bacon and Cheese pasta sauce lately)

2 Cups of mozzarella cheese (a blend of any cheese is fine too: cheddar, colby jack, monterey jack, Parmesan, ricotta etc. whatever you have sitting in the fridge will work)

1 pound of cooked ground turkey or package of chicken sausage, diced (you can also leave the meat out)

1/2 bag of baby spinach or other leafy green

1 zucchini diced

Any other vegetables you have in the fridge that you need to use up. We have used diced carrots, beets (really, they are delicious in this!), mushrooms, onions, potatoes (cut fine so they cook properly), yellow squash. Anything you would use in a regular pasta dish/sauce you can use here.

Instructions:

Dump the pasta in a large 9X13 pan, dump the entire jar of sauce into the pan also, now here is the trick. Re-fill the jar of pasta with water, yes the whole jar, and add that to the pan too. I promise that this will not be too much water. Stir so that the pasta gets coated. Now add your other ingredients, saving a cup or so of cheese, and stir so that everything looks nice and mixed up. I also like to squish down any pieces of pasta that are sticking up to make sure they get fully cooked. Sprinkle the last cup of cheese on top. Tightly cover with foil, you want to make sure the edges are sealed so no moisture can escape. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. I’ve experimented with oven time and temperatures and it always takes 1 hour, any less and the pasta doesn’t cook. So while the cook time is long the prep time is usually 15 minutes at most, depending on how many veggies you have to chop. Once time is up, take the dish out of the oven and carefully peel the foil back, a lot of steam will escape so be careful you don’t burn yourself. You can pull out of piece of pasta to test for done-ness and bake, covered for 15 more minutes if needed. If the dish still has a lot of liquid in it (mine usually doesn’t) you can remove the foil and bake an extra 10 minutes or so uncovered.

Beautiful 6: Pi Shawl-Mary Lennox Complete!

I finished my Mary Lennox pi shawl. It was a lot of fun (and time) to make. It has quite a few beads and is almost as tall as I am, but it’s so beautiful. I think I need to figure out how to display it on the wall. Or I need more fancy events to go to where I can wear it. More details on my project page on Ravelry. This was a great Mystery Knit A Long and the second shawl I have made by this designer. (The first was White Snows of Winter, project page here).

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The yarn I used is a gorgeous 30% silk, 70% merino wool, that was hand dyed in a semi solid of light green with subtle hints of yellow. The brand is Your Daily Fiber Dyed by Darrell which I have only seen at fiber festivals and I am unable to find it online. If you see this brand, buy some! It’s awesome yarn.

The shawl incorporates several Estonian stitches such as nupps and a 9 over 5 stitch (I can’t find a reference for this but the basic idea is that you create 9 stitches out of knitting 5 together) that produce really neat effects. The shawl also incorporated the story of the Secret Garden in it. The center starts with a winding path to the secret garden, created with random purl stitches, until you find the key (done with beads). Then there is a section of ivy, with one portion a door in the ivy. After that there are several gardens and there are multiple stitch patterns to choose from in the pattern to create the gardens. All of which look like flowers or leaves of some type. I will definitely have to knit this shawl again someday!

Curiosity 10: More Hand Dyed Mini Skeins

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This is a combination of Turquoise, Brown and Pink. I really, really like this combo and plan to dye more of this.

 

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This is turquoise, brown, orange and green.

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This is a ‘witchy’ color, it will self striped acid green and dark purple.

 

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Here is some of the yarn I dyed knit up. I really like how the colors turned out, they are very ‘fall’ and I plan to dye more fall inspired colors

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Curiosity 9: Handmade Owls

I have knit several Owl related items recently for swaps on Ravelry.

Owl Bookmark

Knit with yarn I dyed.

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Owl Tea Tote

Also knit with yarn I dyed. The eyes are buttons I pulled off an old, thrifted sweater

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Owl Card

This is a combination of knitting and felt. Knitting the owl is easy and very quick!

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These are all free and quick projects and I really enjoy creating things for other people to enjoy. I like to give handmade presents to people. I think the time and effort put into the item is part of the gift. I have the skills needed to make things and I enjoy the time spent. I know not everyone is into crafting but I always tell people when I was a kid I didn’t have video games (not allowed to), cable tv (lived in the ‘boonies’), or the internet (not until I was about 16 or so). So reading and creating things were what kept me occupied. It also gives me a way to be productive while watching hours of shows on Netflix. TV doesn’t engage my brain enough, I need something in my hands to be able to sit still and relax. I get to watch hours of tv and still be productive!

Beautiful 5: More Tea Cups

One of the items I look for when I go to thrift stores or yard sales is tea cups. I have a small collection of pretty, or unusual tea cups. I especially like hand painted ones and colorful cups. Here is a recent find. The cup is a little larger than a regular teacup and has no handle which is nice because you can wrap your hands around the whole cup and warm them up on a chilly day!

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I also found this hand painted cup at Goodwill a few months ago:

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It is really delicate and the porcelain is almost see through.

Interesting 7: Beaded Sheep

I bought this beaded sheep at the swap meet. The seller had many beaded items all from Guatemala. There were many animals from birds to alligators to a unicorn. But as soon as I saw this sheep I knew I had to get it. The detail is pretty neat and it feels very solidly made. I really needed a new key chain as mine broke. It was a glass etched Cinderella’s castle from Disneyland and every time I dropped it another piece chipped off. It finally broke in half. My keys will be much easier to find with this cute sheep on them!

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Delicious 3: GF Almond-Ginger Scones with Chai Spices

I wanted to make some easy gluten free scones to have with breakfast. I found this delicious looking recipe, but didn’t have all the ingredients. So I came up with my own version loosely based on the Eat Good 4 Life version.

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Almond-Ginger Scones with Chai Spices

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/4 c dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 cup almond flour or almond meal

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Preheast oven to 350

Line an 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

Mix the coconut oil and dark brown sugar together, then mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the remained of the ingredients and mix until combined. The dough will be thick, like cookie dough.

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Press the dough into the pan and sprinkle the top with sugar if you want  crusty top. Bake for 8-10 minutes. (You may need to bake longer, I live at a high altitude and have to adjust baking times). You could also do an egg wash before sprinkling the sugar on top to create a golden crust. I also think this would be delicious with blueberries or chopped pears added to the dough.

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Beautiful 4: Tea Cups

I love looking at beautiful tea cups on Pinterest. I have a whole Tea board with all kinds of pretties on it. I was lucky enough to find a few gorgeous tea cups at the swap meet recently. I really like the teacups that have ‘feet’ and these are some good examples. This teal one is hand painted and from China.

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I also found these white cups. They do not have any markings but the porcelain is a beautiful, shiny white color with swirls of rainbow colors.

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It’s so much fun to drink tea out of real teacup. Most of the time I use a mug but sometimes I will make a pot of tea, in a real tea pot, and bring out a fancy tea cup to enjoy tea time with!

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