Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cooking - A Lifelong Adventure

My mom is a huge inspiration for me. When I got married in 2009, I already knew how to cook. I don't mean pull out a recipe and make it. I mean, look in the refrigerator and pull something out and cook it. How did I learn how to cook? My mom.

Growing up, I remember her just going into the kitchen and cooking. For baking or other complicated meals, she would use a recipe. For most meals, however, she would just go in and cook. Since I was home schooled, I learned by watching. I didn't realize it then, but she was teaching me so much.

My dear husband is not much of a cook. He's getting better though, and his breakfasts are pretty fantastic. He still asks some questions when helping me out in the kitchen that have me giggling to myself. Then I realized that for someone who NEVER cooked at home as a child, this is all a huge mystery to them. He has 5 younger sisters, so the kitchen was a war-zone. He never ventured in there unless absolutely necessary. As a result, techniques that I consider basic are completely new to him.

Our son K is almost 3 now, and I already have him helping me in the kitchen. His favorite job is scrambling eggs. A chef friend suggested french toast next. K loves to stand on the stool next to me and cook. He will stir just about anything in those scrambled eggs if I don't watch him closely enough. I sometimes struggle to find the time to really engage him with helping in the kitchen (especially now that he has a little sister), but I am working to make this time together cooking more regular. Maybe K will grow up with a better working knowledge of the kitchen than my husband. At least, I hope that when he gets married, he can navigate the kitchen enough to make himself a meal and avoid relying on fast food and canned soups.

Since a lot of what I do in the kitchen doesn't use a recipe, I thought I should start writing it down and sharing it. I hope to share some of my favorite recipes with you soon.

Thanks for joining me on this long, often-times messy adventure.

~Sarah Liz

Monday, June 15, 2015

Close to the Heart

My project this past week has been very close to my heart. On Sunday we celebrated my husband's Grammy's birthday. I have been blessed with awesome in-laws so I love his family like I do my own. 3 years ago we were celebrating Grammy's birthday, and little did we know that it would be the last time we would see Great Grandma Nan (Grammy's mother). She passed away shortly after that.

(Hubby with Nan --- Photo Credit: Catherine Mijs)

Nan was a knitter and crocheter, and I was given her yarn. This year I wanted to do something special for Grammy so I pulled out her cotton yarn and made some dishcloths.

I used the patterns below for the knitted dishcloths, but wanted to crochet one of them. I didn't have a lot of yarn left, so I made up my own. So I wrote it down and wanted to share it with you.

Some projects I do for my business, some for family or friends, some just to relax. But sometimes, a project hits really close to the heart. These dishcloths were made with double the love. The yarn belonged to Nan, and somehow, that made this project so much more a labor of love.

~Sarah Liz

Striped Crochet Dishcloth

Striped Crochet Dishcloth
Pattern by Sarah Gross

Great Grandma Nan was a knitter and crocheter, and I inherited her yarn after she passed away. Among the yarn, there were small amounts of cotton yarn. I wanted to crochet a washcloth, but didn't have enough to make one from the patterns I was looking at. So, I made my own to accommodate the amounts of yarn I had on hand. Enjoy!

F Hook
Worsted Weight Cotton Yarn in 2 colors (I used Lily Sugar 'N Cream)
Large eye needle for weaving in ends

Not crucial for this pattern

With color A, Chain 39
1. DC in 2nd chain from hook, DC in remaining chains (36 sts)
2. Ch 3 (counts as stitch throughout), turn. DC in remaining sts
Join color B (I join it by drawing it up in the last part of the last DC of the row) (I don't cut the yarn, I just draw it along the side since the border will cover it)
3. Ch 1 (does not count as stitch), turn. SC in same st, SC in remaining sts
4. Repeat row 3
Join color A

Work 2 rows of DC with color A, and 2 rows of  SC with color B. Repeat until dishcloth is approximately square, ending with the 2 rows of DC with color A. Do not cut yarn.

Border:  Ch 1, turn. SC in same st, SC in remaining sts in row. 2 SC in corner, turn to work on the side. SC along the side (I like to do 1 SC per SC row of color B and 2 SC per DC row of color A). Continue along the rest of the sides, doing 2SC in the corners. Join to 1st SC. Do not cut yarn.

Loop: Ch 10, sl st in same st as join. Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Finished size approximately 8"x8".

***Feel free to sell items made from this pattern. Links back to this blog are appreciated. Do NOT claim or redistribute this pattern or photo as your own.***

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Learning to Crochet - One of 2 New Obsessions

    This is the story of how I went stir crazy. It was September 2012. I had just gone on Maternity Leave from my full-time office job. I was in full-on nesting mode. The nursery was ready, tiny baby clothes were folded, my freezer was stocked with meals. I was ready. And I still had 2 weeks to go until my due date!

   Enter the crochet hook. I already knew how to knit (you can see the post of how that started here: Knitting - So Much More Than a Hobby). But I had already knitted my baby boy quite a few baby hats. I needed to do something. So I went to the craft store, bought a set of crochet hooks and crochet book (this one here: A to Z of Crochet), and jumped right in.

   It's a good thing I started this new craft obsession, because my due date came and went with ZERO indication from my son that he was ready to meet us. I decided to make a blanket I saw my friend making at our weekly knitting/crocheting nights. I didn't finish it before having to go to the hospital to be induced, so I actually took it with me and worked on it while in early labor. I finished it shortly after he was born.
(In the hospital. --- Photo Credit: Cheryl Schlegel)

(Just a few days old. --- Photo Credit: Cheryl Schlegel)

   Thus was born my 2 new obsessions. My son and crochet. 
   My knitting background helped immensely in learning to crochet, and I often combine the 2 in my products.
(You can buy these headbands here: Off White Headband, Lavender Baby Headband)

   My crochet journey has taken off. There is no going back. I look forward to continuing to develop and create, and share my journey and creations with you.

~Sarah Liz

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Knitting - So Much More Than a Hobby

Ah, knitting. This story begins back in 2010. My 14 year old sister-in-law Olivia taught me the basic knit stitch. I jumped right in and made myself a brown and white scarf. Over the next 2 years, I kept making scarves for family and friends. I even made a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf. I know, I'm a nerd. Soon, knitting began to take on a little more meaning.

(My very first knitted item --- Photo Credit: Sarah Gross)

For some reason, knitting was a way to relax and unwind. I remember my goddaughter being born. It was the first childbirth I ever witnessed. I was there for all 22 hours of it. For a large portion of it, I was rocking back and forth in the rocking chair in the hospital room and knitting in time to the rocking. Back and forth, back and forth. Row after row after row. The scarf was purple and black. I finished it a few days after she was born. I plan to give it to her someday. Maybe at her high school graduation, maybe sooner. It's nothing fancy or spectacular, but it is something I was working on while waiting for her to come into this world. It, like her birth, is something I will remember forever. My little token of love for her.

(Photo Credit: Sarah Gross)

My knitting career didn't really take off until 2012. I was expecting my first baby that September. I met my friend's mother Manuella. Little did I know how important Manuella would become to me. She is a very talented knitter. She holds weekly knitting nights at her home, and in 2012, I started attending. Motivated by pregnancy, I wanted to expand my repertoire to more than just scarves. Naturally, I started making baby hats. The feeling of dressing your little baby in something you created is a feeling like no other. After my son K was born, I kept at it. I took him with me to knitting nights, I used him as a model for my creations, I even let him play with my yarn. He was definitely a great inspiration to learn to make new things.
(3 weeks old --- Photo Credit: Jennifer Schlegel)

At the urging of family and friends, I opened up an Etsy shop in the Summer of 2013. It keeps growing each year, and I'm so glad I took the plunge. One of my first items was an original pattern for a baby headband. It's just in my head right now, but I plan to write it down, have someone (likely Manuella) test it, and share it with you all someday in the near future.

I'm not sure where my knitting journey will take me, but I look forward to the ride and sharing it with you.

~Sarah Liz