Witch Feast












 


Hi!  Just a quick post to share a fun party I attended last night.  My friend Renee celebrates Halloween like no other person I know.  Every year for the last ten years she has given a huge Witchy Feast.  She rents our her club dining room for the evening, spends the entire day decorating it to the hilt, and invites what seems to be close to 100 girlfriends.  She said it first started as a little party just to do something different and fun, but over the years has grown into a way to celebrate the power of female friendships and honor another year of life and good health.  I am always 100% down for celebrating that.

During the cocktail hour Renee had a few passed hors-d’Ĺ“uvres with seasonal salsas and chips on the cocktail tables.  Because we were so many, she did have a full bar with several bartenders.  I think the key to making this party special is to go all out on the decorating.  Renee used thousands of tiny orange lights to decorate the dining room and hung witches hats from the ceiling.  She said she bought most of her decorations at the "day after" sale, when decorations go half off.  The tables had gorgeous crushed velvet tablecloths with black napkins folded into bats plus a menu card at each setting.  One absolute requirement was every guest must wear witches garb.  Most of us went as glam as we could, but some did go the warty route, funny!  This is the time to wear your retired miniskirt and fishnet stockings or drag out that swanky 20 year old New Year's Eve dress from the back of the closet.  I really had to laugh at some of the costumes!  I think it would be easy to recreate your own Witch Feast and it certainly doesn't have to be a sit down dinner at the club like Renee's.  A paired down version of evening cocktails and appetizers in your home would be perfect. So, are you thinking of throwing a Witch Feast of your own next year?  You should.  It was fun!







"Renee summons witches of the west...ride your broom, ditch your groom and fly to..."

The seasonal menu was printed out on these pretty keepsake cards.

Thanks for popping by.  
I have knitting posts scheduled for the next few weeks, plus another party or two!
xo


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to honor yet another year of friendship and health. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2012/10/oktoberfestive.html#sthash.oxkzpruL.dpuf
to honor yet another year of friendship and health. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2012/10/oktoberfestive.html#sthash.oxkzpruL.dpuf

gumdrops





Hello.  Here I am again with more baby sweaters, all in stripes using leftover bits of yarn.  Again!  I've got this thing for stripes right now, and rather than ignore it, I'm just going along with it and knitting stripes, stripes and more stripes.  Sigh.  Remember when I raided my stash and made baby cardigan kits?  I took 3 kits with me on a recent trip and had a nice time making something useful out of something that that been hanging out for way too long in my stash.  Yay!  When I got home I went through grandmother's button box looking for matching buttons.  For the gray sweater I had my heart set on red, but the only red ones were these vintage mismatched ones.  I placed them on the button band and knew right away that they were just right, in fact, that they don't match makes it more endearing somehow.  I found some mismatched vintage shell buttons for the yellow and green sweater.  The yellow buttons were new and purchased to match the yellow stripes in the sleeves when I ran out of gray.  I usually make size 12 mos. as I think this size will get the most wear.  Also, one year olds are smiling and engaging, calling attention to themselves, sitting up, usually walking, so they can really show off that sweater!

You may wonder why I'm making so many baby sweaters.  First, I love using up odd bits from the stash.  Second, it's fun to knit projects quickly that always turn out cute no matter what, but mostly, I am determined that every new baby in my circle of friends is going to get a sweater from me.  The one with the red buttons is going to Maui, upcountry where the weather is chilly, to my best friend's, friend's first grandchild.  The yellow one is going to my son's high school sweetheart's sister.  The pink and yellow one will sit in my gift drawer until it's finds a recipient, but I don't think it will be too long.  My son is at that age where his friends are getting married.  I get kind of misty eyed when I think about it.  All these kids I've know since they were in grade school, some even nursery school, now 11 years out of high school, and they are still in contact with each other.  Occasionally we'll see these kids and they are always so nice to my husband and me.  I remember when they were wearing baby sweaters, sob!










This is size 12 mos.

I really loved the idea of using mismatched vintage button from grandmother's button box.

I work from little bits and pieces of leftover yarn. 

I have a few knitting tips:  

1. Between the ribbing and stripes, work one row stockinette in the rib color before beginning the rib (when knitting the cuffs) or finishing the rib (when knitting the collar).   This extra row of stockinette in the rib color will make a neater looking transition.  You do not need to do this row of stockinette for the button band.

2. When picking up stitches for the button band, pick up 3 stitches for every four.  It will lay nice and flat.  

3. Make your button band first, then place your buttons where you want them, mark their placement, then knit the buttonhole band.  

4. When mixing yarns, make sure they have the same care and the same weight.  Remember to use machine washable wool or cotton for baby items.

Even though I've shared these free pattern links many times, I always pick up a few new readers so I will add the pattern links again.  All are free downloads and most are sized 3 mos. to 2 years.  Print out all these patterns and keep them in your pattern library.  Gather up your machine washable oddballs and put them in a zip lock bag with the patterns.  You're all set for some great travel projects, and of course, a most welcome gift.  FYI, the yarn used is a combo of machine washable Rowan Wool Cotton, Rowan Pure Wool DK, Tahki Cotton Classic, and Cascade Superwash DK. 

For fingering weight or sport weight I like the
Baby's Raglan, No Seams by Carole Barenys
 
For DK weight yarn you can use
the Fuss Free Baby Cardigan by Louise Tilbrook
or the Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan by Keya Kuhn

With worsted weight try the
Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith

Here's one for aran weight:
Rainbow Cardigan by Clara Falk

Read about my Gumdrops on Ravelry.
For fingering weight or sport weight I like the
Baby's Raglan, No Seams by Carole Barenys
 
For DK weight yarn you can use
the Fuss Free Baby Cardigan by Louise Tilbrook
or the Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan by Keya Kuhn
With worsted weight try the
Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith

Here's one for aran weight:
Rainbow Cardigan by Clara Falk
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/08/more-kits-baby-style-all-free-all-good.html#.dpuf

I cast on for another while watching the San Francisco Giants WIN
game 5 of the World Series.  MadBum was pitching, man I love that guy!







For fingering weight or sport weight I like the
Baby's Raglan, No Seams by Carole Barenys
 
For DK weight yarn you can use
the Fuss Free Baby Cardigan by Louise Tilbrook
or the Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan by Keya Kuhn
With worsted weight try the
Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith

Here's one for aran weight:
Rainbow Cardigan by Clara Falk
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/08/more-kits-baby-style-all-free-all-good.html#.dpuf
Carol, a reader sent in this photo of scrappy cardis she made for her twin grandsons, Hugo and Xavier.  Adorbs times two!

Even more stripes!  I've just finished week 3 of my Kaffe KAL.  Even if you aren't participating right now,
you can still download the free patterns and have them on hand for when you DO want to knit it!
It's going to be beautiful.  Click HERE  to download the patterns for weeks 1-3.


Happy knitting!  See you soon with more knitting, more parties!


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Knitionary

For fingering weight or sport weight I like the
Baby's Raglan, No Seams by Carole Barenys
 
For DK weight yarn you can use
the Fuss Free Baby Cardigan by Louise Tilbrook
or the Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan by Keya Kuhn
With worsted weight try the
Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith

Here's one for aran weight:
Rainbow Cardigan by Clara Falk
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/08/more-kits-baby-style-all-free-all-good.html#.dpuf

fall dinner party




Last week we had friends over for dinner, friends who have been friends since our children were little, then to add another layer to the friendship, we found ourselves as co-workers for a few years.  But now that the kids are grown and the job is over, we don't see each other as often as we like and have to reach out a bit to get together.  Dinner party to the rescue!  You know I love dinner parties so much.  I troll Pinterest to find new ideas and have so much fun setting my table and planning the menu.  To me it's a way to spread my creative wings, with the bonus of having fun with friends.  We are such longtime good friends, so much history to share, and all that makes for an easy night.  I do love to go all out for a dinner party, but often don't have the time. I was planning on making a showstopper dessert, as I know both male guests love sweets. The day of the dinner party I was really feeling set: wine was in the fridge, table was set, onion soup was made the day before and just needed heating up.  I had even grated the cheese and sliced the bread to make last minute croutons.  So I felt comfortable meeting my girlfriend for morning coffee and some knitting then meeting my mom and a friend for lunch.  On my way home I stopped by the grocery store for the salad ingredients and came home and went on a little walk to pick up my neighbor's dog who was going to spend the rest of the afternoon with me.  On the walk home I ran into a neighbor and we started talking and talking.  And talking.  When I finally got home I was surprised to see that my son had stopped by and we visited for a while, and before I knew it, it was 4:30 and too late for me to mess up the kitchen with a fancy dessert.  Time...silly time...as much time as I have these days, it really seems to slip away from me.  The more time I have it's really like the less time I have. Why is that?  So since I felt squeezed I decided instead to relax for an hour with my knitting.  Doesn't that sound better anyway?  Luckily I had slice and bake cookies in the freezer, so I made those.  We had some chocolate candies and put them out too.  I had just bought a few varieties of local fresh picked apples, so I sliced them up after dinner and we had a little apple tasting.  I love to do that, everyone crunching away while we go around the table asking for opinions, it's funny. For me, Winesap totally won, crunchy, not too sweet, and mildly winey.  It's not an apple I normally find, but it's from a local ranch where we do our berry picking.  I think I see an apple picking road trip in our future!  The links are at the end of the post.


















Lots of links!

As a young bride I learned how to cook using the Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  It was Julia who taught me how to make a quiche, a souffle, beef stew, chicken stock; just about everything I make now has roots within my 40 year old copy.  Julia trained entire generations of cooks to be courageous in the kitchen.  Bless her, that gift of fearlessness has given me great joy, I love to cook.  Her onion soup is by far the best, absolutely simple, and she has you do it the right way, and it will be the best you've ever had.  I doubled the recipe and the 6 of us consumed every last drop.  The Cowboy Cookies are crispy and chewy, love that combo.  I always make a double batch and put the slice and bake logs in the freezer where they don't seem to stay too long.  For the appetizer we made Maple Baked Bacon, man that stuff is good.  It was inhaled!

The gorgeous paper place mats are reusable and from Belle Banquet.  Here is the direct link for the  white and black root vegetables.  They've been used so many times and still look like new, it's hard to believe they are paper. I have a little collection of them but I think I'll add one of the animals to my Christmas wish list.    The plates are Cambria from Pottery Barn, also the canape plates, here's the link for them, scroll to the bottom.  Cambria is such a great line, we especially like that the dinner plate is large, plus they are inexpensive and still I've yet to find a chip.  The onion soup bowls are from Sur La Table.  It's important to use a bowl that can stand the heat when you brown and bubble the cheese under the broiler.  All the pewter and ceramic pieces in the buffet are from Arte Italica.

Fall entertaining is the best as there are so many pretty ways to decorate the house.  I love fall menus too and soup always seems to top my list.   I used to have a soup party every year but haven't done that party in ages.  I've really been wanting to bring it back but it just hasn't materialized.  I don't think I'll have time for it this year, maybe it will be a nice thing to do in January.  If I do it, I'll be sure to take pictures and share recipes!  I hope you are able to squeeze some fall entertaining into your schedule.  You won't be sorry if you serve onion soup, and try to do an apple tasting, it was really fun. And...make that cookie recipe!  Cookie monsters of any age love them.  xo



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fall decorating

I think I'm a little late to the fall decorating party as I'm just now thinking of adding a rustic dash here and there.  There are so many beautiful ideas out there, but maybe you don't want too too much, just a wee bit.  And maybe you don't want to go to Pottery Barn and plunk out the big bucks for turkey plates or Halloween decor.  And while you can certainly find some beautiful things, they often seem limiting, and anyway, you have to store it somehow off-season. Rather than decorate specifically for Halloween or Thanksgiving, I'd rather decorate for fall in general.  Here are some beautiful and fairly inexpensive ideas that can carry you through the fall months, and most would even be pretty during Christmastime.  I've included the source in each caption when I could.

I always love simple and think this would be beautiful on the sideboard.
Brainstorm, I think I have something that might work for this.

My table is small, but I could manage a paired down version of this, really just pumpkins and greenery, simple!



White and gold and green, a pretty and soothing look for any time of year.


I could easily do a modified version of this, we have plenty of magnolia leaves and persimmons.

Apples are always pretty, even prettier with candles.

so beautiful so beautiful so beautiful so beautiful


This post includes a tutorial on making the tiny pumpkin candles.  I really like the linen runner.


so copying this idea


Here is a Tutorial for pinecone garland that she swears will hang beautifully.


I find that a big glass vase like this is invaluable for every season--source.


If you are feeling particularly crafty, this blog is excellent.

And while I'm not too much into decorating for Halloween, here's one sophisticated trick for Halloween decor!




ribbon bats
This darling girl has free printables for spooky bookcovers.

ha!


hehe

handsome dude
And don't forget that sometimes the best costumes are often the easiest ones.  All you need here is a black eyebrow pencil.  I once captured my neighbor's white lab and penciled in some thick eyebrows and sent him home.  I didn't get a picture of him but somehow he looked French, like this little fella.  How does this make a dog look French?  But it does, right?  

Vous pensez que je suis beau, oui?




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