Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tea on Tuesday

We are still enjoying lots of lavender from our garden, so here is another wonderful lavender recipe, with blueberries and nectarines.

Lavender Nectarine-Blueberry Cobbler

This is a truly delightful combination of flavors. If you don’t have any vanilla sugar, use regular sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. I have used organic dried English lavender flower buds (unopened
flowers) in this recipe. If you use a different variety or fresh lavender, you may get a weaker or stronger lavender flavor.

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 TBSP. unsalted butter, chilled
1 large egg
2/3 cup whole milk
4 cups sliced nectarines, 1/2 inch thick slice
1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
6 TBSP. vanilla sugar
1 tsp. dried lavender flower buds
3 TBSP. flour

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the nectarines, blueberries, vanilla sugar, and lavender. Taste for sweetness. Stir in the flour and pour into a 1 and 1/2 quart ceramic baking or gratin dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives. Combine the milk and the egg, and stir into the dry ingredients. Stir to form a soft dough. Spoon or shape by hand rounds of dough on top of the fruit. The dough should cover the entire top, but leave spaces between the dough to let the fruit bubble up during the baking.
Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees, until the topping is cooked through and lightly browned, and the filling bubbles up. Serve warm (with a little vanilla ice cream).
yright 2000-2010 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poster Girl

There was a big surprise today, along with two gold medals! After the competition, the kids and coaches all went to the Olympic Village, where they saw this poster - with our girl on it. We knew her photo had been used on the website for some time, but had no idea she was now this year's Summer Games Poster Girl. I'm hoping the proud Dad will bring home a couple for me. It is so hard not to be there, but my health leaves me home to be the biggest fan instead. It will be great to have the poster, too. Everyone is having a wonderful time, needless to say. Tonight the kids have a dance, and tomorrow morning the final events.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going for the Gold

Our Golden Girl

Tonight is the start of the Northern California Special Olympics Summer Games. Our youngest is completing for the 3rd year. The photo above is from the 2008 games, when she competed in track and won 3 gold medals.
This next photo is a medals award ceremony from the 2009 games. State law enforcement officers from all over Northern California support the games, and attend the games to award the medals.
This year our girl is competing in aquatics. Sadly, the team size has been cut in half from 2 years ago because of funding problems. It is impossible to say just how wonderful the program is for the athletes and their families. I hope you will all keep your fingers crossed for the tiny Richmond Buffaloes Team, and of course, our little swimmer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tea on Tuesday

Our garden is full of wonderful herbs, and the lavender is especially nice. We have four different varieties blooming. The white lavender is lovely when cut and bunched with the purple and blue varieties. Here is a simple recipe using lavender.

Lavender Cream

This is the perfect way to pamper yourself at tea time. Try this cream with scones and fresh berries. It pairs especially well with blueberries and blueberry jam. I have used organic dried English lavender flower buds (unopened flowers) for this recipe, as that is the most commonly found variety. If you use a different type of lavender, you may have a stronger or weaker flavor. If the cream’s flavor is too strong, whip a little unflavored cream and add it to the
lavender cream.

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. dried lavender flower buds
2 TBSP. confectioner’s sugar

Combine the cream and lavender and let chill overnight. Strain out the lavender. In a mixer, whip the infused cream and the confectioner’s sugar until it is very stiff and a spreadable consistency. Chill until ready to serve. Can be made several hours in advance.
Makes about 1 cup whipped cream.

Copyright 2000-2010 by Renee Van Hoy, Invisible Loom and Craft. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flower Garden Afghan for a Loom

Today I have the pattern for my "Flower Garden Afghan". I hope you enjoy it. The pattern is available in a pdf file on Ravelry. 
Supplies: Knitting Loom with at least 118 pegs in ½ inch gauge (CinDwood Large Round Afghan Loom used in sample, ½ inch gauge.) 975 yards Super Bulky yarn (Wool-ease Thick and Quick used in sample) in four colors, three skeins of one color, two skeins each of three colors; (sample used 3 Raspberry, 2 Fisherman, 2 Lemongrass and 2 Apricot.) ***Yarn should have good spring and flexibility for this stitch pattern.
Loom tool
Crochet hook
Stitch markers or scrap yarn
Embroidery needle to weave in ends
Finished Size: 40 x 55 inches
Feather and Fan Stitch

Copyright 2010 by Renee Van Hoy, Invisible Loom and Craft. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Looming around the Net

There are lots of great projects and new ideas happening for loomers around the net:

The June Loom Class group at yahoogroups has a great batch of projects, starting right now with a darling octopus taught by Kelly Jones, and following up with "Baby Gran Squares" taught by Brenda Myers.
The Loom Dude has a wonderful pattern to make for a soldier, a garrison cap, which folds flat like an envelope for easy packing.
My Heart Exposed Yarns continues with amazing dyes from natural plants, with colors that are very inspiring.
The Buzzzzzzz today: an adjustable fine gauge (3/8 inch) sock loom from Authentic Knitting Board, with grooved metal pegs. It is shipping in July, only $27. Will this be the answer for all the sock loom challenged loomers?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tea on Tuesday

Tigger is posing next to the June Loom-a-long "Simple Lace Wrap". The colors seem much more vivid in the photograph than in person.

For this very nice summer day, something apricot for your tea. This has long been a family favorite.

Apricot Gratin

Bake this luscious dessert while the main meal is being served. It will smell heavenly and taste even better.

10 large ripe, firm, apricots
1 cup flour
1 cup almonds, finely ground*
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter, softened
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve and pit apricots. Place in a shallow gratin baking dish (about 1 1/2 - 2 quart size).
Grind almonds in the food processor with the sugar. In a large bowl, combine almond mixture,flour, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork. Cover apricots with topping and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm.

*Grind the almonds with the sugar to keep them from becoming too

Copyright 2000-2010 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Looming Up Hill

Sometimes looming, surprises me by going from wonderfully simple to just plain impossible. I am always taken aback, especially when it is a pattern I have made over and over - and when it is a pattern that I have written! This is looming uphill.
Right now, it is yarn that is confounding me. The “Simple Lace Wrap” for the June Loom-a-long was made with Nashua Wooly Stripes. This was a wool yarn that varied in width from worsted to heavy worsted. It was wonderful to work with, and made a nice, soft wrap that was just warm enough for the transition from winter to spring.
Thinking that our warmer days needed a lighter wrap, I cast-on with Knit Picks “Comfy” in worsted weight. UGH! Even though I had just made my Aunt a gorgeous cape (The Peony Cape) with this yarn, it refused to work for the Wrap. I swatched several other lighter yarns with no success. I even tried switching between the CinDwood and the Knifty Knitter purple hat loom. Uphill all the way.
At last I pulled out an inexpensive, but similar yarn, Lighthouse Waves, a 70% wool, 30% soy yarn. It has the same varied thickness as the Nashua. Now I am happily looming-a-long. I may be a little short in the yardage (350 yards) but I will see how the wool/soy blocks out, and add a border if needed in another yarn.
What baffles me is how I can make a pattern over and over in several yarns, and have not a problem, and then, have days where nothing seems to work. I think this is not at all unusual, and hope that newer loomers won’t be put off by the occasional day of uphill looming. The downhill is pretty nice.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On and Off the Loom, Sunflower Spring Shawlette

There is just not enough to say about the "Sunflower Spring Shawlette" made from the gorgeous hand dyed yarn from My Heart Exposed Yarn. It is a dream to work with and to wear. I love this yarn, and the shawlette! The pattern link is below, and please let me know how you like it. It includes the new stitch pattern "Diamond Box". $4.50 More photos are below.
I just finished this sweet baby blanket. It is made from Knit Picks "Comfy Bulky", a 75% cotton, 25% acrylic yarn that is very soft, and also easy on the hands to work with. The pattern was a simple 3 stitch rib, made on the 90 peg CinDwood small 1/2 inch gauge afghan loom.

Copyright 2010 by Renee Van Hoy, Invisible Loom and Craft. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.