Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed time with family and friends during this holiday season. I’m currently on the tail end of a 2-week break, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. Next week starts another round of rigorous studying.

We spent some time in N.C. and Va. visiting with family and friends. It was so wonderful seeing so many loved ones! I was tempted to kidnap a few people and bring them back to Kentucky. We finished up the holidays with a family Christmas dinner this past Sunday. Sunday’s celebrations ended with a visit to Lights Under Louisville — a Christmas light display in Louisville Mega Cavern.

Lights Under Louisville 2

Lights Under Louisville 1

I wish you a blessed, prosperous and happy new year in 2015!

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Cranberry-Banana-Walnut Quick Bread

This cranberry-banana-walnut bread may look “ugly as sin,” as Chris put it, but it’s damn good! (Recipe here or a variation here.)

Cranberry Banana Walnut Bread

 

I made this bread for Aunt Shirley earlier this week and it turned out lovely. The bread didn’t stick anywhere and browned nicely. I did have to cook it an additional 10 minutes, but it slid right out of the pan with no problem.

For this go ’round, I did change the ratio of bread flour to cake/pastry flour from 1.5 cups: 0.5 cups to 1:1. I’m not sure that would have caused the bread to stick more though.

It seems like my Christmas baking has turned out the same for the past couple of years. Some funny disaster will happen and I’ll be left somewhat empty handed. Last year, nothing was turning out. I added too much butter or sugar into sugar cookie dough, so I had to pat it out and cook it into a big lemony mass. Breads fell apart and didn’t hold their shape. Around 8 or 9 p.m., Chris told me to stop with what I had and rushed out the door to Food Lion to buy provisions. So most of what people got last year were store-bought goodies with a surprise from me tucked in here and there.

This year Chris was on cookie duty. They turned out pretty and delicious. I’m 1 for 2 on the bread. I think I’m going to stop now.


Crafters Christmas cards

The current project of the Crafters for Christ is Christmas cards, which members will hand out at local nursing homes. The group recently met this past Saturday for a session of crafting, laughing and fellowship. Here are some of the cards we’ve made so far:

Joy card

Noel chimney card

Two ornaments and trees

Cindy and her cards

Yes, she made these! She has some awesome talent.

She is also a very creative lady.

She is also a very creative lady.

Some paper goodies in the works for some cards:

Tree

Santa hat

We have several more meetings planned in the coming weeks. Right now we have 31 cards made and I hope we can make at least 3x as many before Christmas. Our goal is to deliver cards to three nursing homes this year. In the past we only visited one so we’ve taken on quite a challenge to make sure we have enough cards made in time.


Nannie’s Ripple Scarf

I made another Ridged Wave Scarf from a pattern I bought from Peaceful Heart Alpacas several years ago.

This scarf is made from an alpaca yarn I bought at Peaceful Heart Alpacas.

This scarf is made from an alpaca yarn I bought at Peaceful Heart Alpacas.

I love this pattern and really enjoyed making it again. This will be a Christmas gift to my grandmother this year. Nannie came to stay for about a week earlier this summer and I took her to visit the alpacas.

While there, we petted and fed the alpacas and browsed the store. Nannie picked out this yarn for herself and helped me picked out yarn for a couple of pairs of socks.

I will use this yarn to make a garter top sock

I will use this yarn to make a garter top sock

I will use this yarn for my first attempt at cables.

I will use this yarn for my first attempt at cables.

It was heavenly working with this yarn. Much like a mini spa for my fingers. I can’t wait for Nannie to see the yarn and to finish the socks!


Christmas napkins

As you’re reading this, we’re probably already on our way to Indiana to enjoy Christmas with the hubby’s family. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the company of loved ones!

Ta Da! The final crafty Christmas presents of 2010 (minus some last minute baking) — napkins! These are four sets of 9 napkins made out of fabric Chris selected earlier in the year (scroll to the bottom of that post to read about it).

(From top left, clockwise) American flag and bird fabric for Chris’ parents, vine-y fabric (which I think looks sort of Christmas-y) for Chris’ aunt and uncle and butterflies for my parents. All this was bought at Mountain Plains Fabrics in Fancy Gap, Va.

I cut out 14-inch squares and rolled hemmed the edges with my serger. This is a quick and easy project if you’re still looking for something to make as a last minute gift.

To make more fancy napkins, cut out squares that are at least 15 inches and create mitered corners (here’s one way to do it, as seen on BurdaStyle). You can also make larger napkins, if you like.

Fold and tie them with extra yarn or ribbon and they’re ready for gift giving!


Christmas dish clothes

I’ve finished two Christmas presents! Yay! Time to celebrate!

The last two dish clothes are bigger than the first two, which doesn’t look as nice, in my opinion. Checking Ravelry, I notice that I only stitched up 42 stitches, not 44, for the first two clothes because I used a larger needle size than the project called for. Oops! Wish I would have remembered that before I finished the last two!

(You can read the first post about the first two dish clothes here.)

Other than that, I am pleased with how well they look. I think the clothes together look like a sunset at the beach — tan for the sand and the blue-orange-yellow-white for the color of the sky. Nice! That’s what I’ll call ’em — Sunset Dish Clothes!

I’ve got 2 more to projects to complete, not counting baking I want to do. If I don’t get to them today, next Saturday and evening hours this coming week will be the only time I’ll have to tackle them. (You can see the fabric for these projects at the bottom of this post.)

Those projects require the sewing machine, so I gotta brave the cold basement to finish ’em up. The snow outside doesn’t make it any warmer either!

Luckily, those projects are quick and easy. I just got to make time to finish them.

First, however, I’ve got an app to fill out and it requires 4 essay questions. So, I’m off to finish that, eat some lunch and then, maybe, begin the projects.