After knitting about 30 Alaska flag hats, I was yearning to knit myself something this winter that I would use every day. I love cowls, but often my hair gets all frumpy and frizzy when I try and put one on over my head. I really wanted a scarf that wouldn’t require a lot of thinking.
After many searches I came across this simple pattern from Leah Michelle Designs. The elongated triangle turns out less like a shawl and more like a bandana scarf. Just my style.
I fell in love with Mano de Ururguay’s Clara yarn the other day at the yarn shop. It’s soft, feathery and fluffy. Just my style.
This pattern is so simple. It increases by one stitch every four rows. No need to count stitches or rows. You just weigh the yarn before starting and increase until you’ve used half the weight, then start decreasing.
I also learned a simple technique that I’ll be applying to all scarf patterns in the future. You slip the first stitch knitwise and purl the last stitch on every row. This creates the perfect edge. I love it!
Anchorage winters have changed. When I was younger I remember making snow forts, sledding and snowmen. On Halloween I’d have to wear a snow suit over my costume (or choose a warm costume such as a bear or a flapper girl moose). I remember yearning for the city plowers to pile a mountain of snow at the top of our driveway (we were at the cusp of a different subdivision so the city plows would stop at our house and leave all the extra snow in our driveway, much to my dad’s distress).
The past few years have been much different. There’s no more snow. The famous Iditarod sled dog race start was relocated to snowier Fairbanks last year. It’s just lame – the cold with no snow. My mother-in-law bought our son an amazing wagon with interchangeable sled runners. We eagerly installed them two years ago and never used it.
I’m not the only one bemoaning the changes. Anchorage’s mayor said that street lighting in inadequate these days because we used to rely on the snow’s reflection to see better during the dark winter months. Ski races have been postponed and cancelled.
It’s a real bummer when you have a small child who wants so badly to participate in winter activities.
But yesterday, finally, we got a few inches of the fluffy white stuff. Our son couldn’t have been more thrilled. I mean, LOOK at the joy in his little face:
So here’s to a real, bona fide Anchorage winter. Let’s get some more snow now!
The kitchen is the heart of our family. My dad would spend the weekends making vats of marinara sauce and in the late summer my mom would be canning blueberry jam. Back when apples were cheap we’d make gallons of applesauce with the food mill and mix in low-bush cranberries for color. Most of my childhood memories are centered around cooking.
One staple in our family is sausage. I remember waking up early on Saturday morning to the loud humming of my dad’s homemade motorized sausage grinder. I was thrilled to stuff hog intestines with meat — I was the best sausage stuffer in the family thanks to my deft, friendship bracelet-making hands.
My dad owns one of the most popular sausage-making sites on the Internet, sausagemania.com (yes, that is really the name). People from all over the world come to his site for his detailed recipes and tutorials.
When we decided to make 100 pounds of Italian and breakfast sausage this morning at 7:30 I thought it would be the perfect time to make my own tutorial for my little DIY audience.
In Alaska, winter solstice is kind of a big deal. It’s the shortest day of the year. In Anchorage we had a little under five and a half hours. It becomes part of the daily winter grind. The sun doesn’t rise until well after you arrive at work and it’s already set when you drive home for the day.
After December 21 we will gradually gain more daylight. It’s a celebratory time for Alaskans.
Recently a friend of mine got married and decided to have her reception around solstice time. When I was hired to make some centerpieces for her I was thrilled to create more wintery pieces.
Purple and lavender carnations, white chrysanthemums, eucalyptus and spruce sprigs were all I needed to bring some winter cheer to her reception.
The couple loves Italy so it was fitting that many of the bud vases were little limoncello glasses.
I worked in retail for six years and by this time during the holiday season our gift wrapping supplies were usually low. Only birthday paper and giant boxes left. When I had a customer wanting a small item wrapped, I came up with this simple hack to make a small box out of the lid of a bigger box.
I don’t pay much attention to what people search for to find my blog, but for the past several months something has consistently caught my eye.
About twice a week someone finds my site by searching “Garland Alaska.”
In fact, it was the second most searched term on my site in 2015.
Sometimes people look up “Is there a Garland, Alaska?”
I was mystified, so I finally did some Facebook crowd sourcing.
About three minutes later I had my answer. Turns out there was a Hallmark Channel made-for-TV-movie in 2014 called “Christmas Under Wraps,” which takes place in a fictional remote town of Garland, Alaska and stars Candace Cameron Bure (most famous for her role of D.J. Tanner on “Full House”).
Last-minute weddings are sometimes the best. When my high school friend Amy called me last week to ask if I’d make her bridal bouquet for her wedding this week, I couldn’t say no.
Amy asked for plum and white colors. Alaska Wholesale Flower Market had the most precious Moody Blues roses and deep purple mini carnations. Amy was sold.
I love presenting the corsages and bouts in a pretty way. My first step is to use grocery store doughnut boxes. They have the clear window on the top so you can peek inside and they are big enough to hold several boutonnieres at once. I happened to have some purple tissue paper that was perfect for this occasion.
I had a few leftovers so I made myself a little flower crown. I was able to stop by the reception in the evening and ran into all my old friends. It was a fun reunion. And, of course, I had Ivan model my crown.