Monday, November 17, 2014





I am working on so many different things that I almost feel a need to make an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of it all.  Socks, a striped scarf, garden marigolds for dyeing the freshly spun wool, leather flowers.  And everything here, along with a few other things still undocumented, and the spinning, and the new blanket, stubbornly still stuck in the Lemongrass phase --which is all frivolously for meeee—remains unfinished and is on pause while I spend a minute or two thinking about someone besides myself and tackle the holiday gifts.  I can’t show you any of it yet.  The finished objects are piling up nicely, though. 

I also made soup, which is my favorite thing to cook and to eat.  I have got soup figured out.   A nice beef and barley, full of potatoes and pepper.  Yum.   I also went to Philadelphia where, you will recall, my girl has taken up residence, and where there is the culinarily adventuresome “cheese steak”.  (It is nice.  There are art murals everywhere, signs that say “Come In, We’re Awesome” and a cafe advertising “Vinyl Night—BYO Records”.  Cheese Steak is a bit of all right.  My girl is happy.  LOVE.)  I also finally got some bifocals, so maybe I’ll be able to read in the bathtub again, and I am spending every single free moment at the knitting needles.  Oh, and it is snowing. 

In case I’ve made you hungry for Beef and Barley soup, here’s my recipe:

Snow Day Beef Barley Soup

1 pound chopped up beef—I don’t know from cuts of meat, so use whatever you like. 

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

6-8 cups beef broth

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup pearl barley

2 bay leaves

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Splash of vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

In a big pot or Dutch oven, saute the onions and celery in the olive oil until they are soft.  Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until fully browned.  Add the broth, potatoes, barley, and bay leaves.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until the potatoes and barley are soft, maybe about 30 minutes.  Add parsley and vinegar and simmer 3-5 minutes more.  Add more liquid if needed, and remove the bay leaves before serving. 

I know, vinegar sounds strange, but trust me.  Soup begs for a little vinegar.  Okay, back to the yarn.


  1. I love that your crafting life is as 'in a flurry' as mine. I am a total soup lover too. veggie is my option - still using allotment vegetables. Jox

  2. The weather is definitely calling for craftiness and soup making. Love the little leather flower. I think it's the nicest thing to know your kids are happy ... I hope mine are eventually happy once they leave home (for good), but it's a worry for me that they get settled comfortably. Thanks for sharing your beef 'n barley soup! Sounds delicious, and as one of my stew recipes claims "worthy untying your skates for" ;) Enjoy your day, Wendy x

  3. Yum, your soup recipe sounds divine. I love the sound of that cafe, how I would love to be a Phihi hipster for just one night. I am so glad your daughter is happy, that is just what we Mammas need to hear.

  4. leather flowers! I must know more about these! I have small scraps of leather and no ideas until now.

    I adore soup and I think I will copy you and start saying I have it figured out. I really do. In summer, I am at a loss when it is too hot for soup.

    I agree with you that vinegar is needed in soup - here's a Mennonite soup I make that has vinegar and meatballs and potatoes - divine:

  5. I make a version of your soup and I love it. I love this time of year and your projects are wonderful. I can't wait to see the finished photos. Fall is definitely time for nesting.

  6. Hi Kristen! Glad to see you doing such fun things!!!
    Thanks for sharing! Love your knitting... and agree, hot soup is just wonderful in this chilly weather!!!
    Ingrid xx

  7. I've never tried vinegar in soup - can you put it in any soup? I luaghed when you said you need an Excel spreadsheet! I've been reduced to that at times.

  8. So glad your girl is happy!

  9. Mmm... that soup sounds divine. I just so happen to have a loaf of fresh bread. Fresh bread, warm soup. A match made in heaven in my books. Enjoy your soups and your crafting!

  10. That soup sounds good and I hope it is keeping you warm with all that snow up your way!

  11. Being nosy here, but I have to ask.... do you just go and buy random balls of wool that appeal to you, with no specific pattern or use for them in mind, or do you trawl through patterns to find something you want to do, then buy the wool? Your array of wool, the colours, just the sight of your knitting on needles as in the photo, has me itching to go and fill a basket with randomly selected wools and start.... what?

    1. I rarely buy yarn with a specific pattern in mind. It's almost always an impulse purchase, and then I stash it for later, and when I feel like making something, I go to the cupboard to see what I have that will work. Or, sometimes, the yarn itself inspires a project--I'll see two colors sitting side by side and suddenly I can envision a great hat/scarf/whatever. :)

  12. I'm always amazed at how quickly you knit you have super-speedy fingers or a small workshop of elves? I would love to be as fast, and clever, as you. Everything you make is beautiful. Xx

  13. I can't wait to see how the marigold-dyed wool turns out. I hope you'll share that before the holidays are over.

  14. hmmm, I'm now imagining an excel spread sheet filled with craft lists. I do love to make lists, however pen and paper are my weapons. Love to write! I adore the first photo of all the knits :)