Author Archives: hammy

About hammy

Oh... what makes me tick? I dunno. Apricots, bunnies, chai, daffodils, epiphanies, fleece, gardens, humming, ink, juice, knitting, laugh, mail, nouns, ovals, poppies, quests, rides, sewing, turquoise, upholstery, vines, winks, X, yeast, zinc... a general smattering of this and that. I'm busy learning things, digging my fingers into everything and making myself busy.

Make More

I have a list of things I’d like to try around food, crafting, exercise and all sorts of other bits over the coming months.


I spend forty hours a week sitting on an exercise ball at my desk and about that much additional time knitting, reading or doing some other seat-based activity which means that I spend very few hours moving or standing, let alone exercising. I joined the Green Microgym on Belmont a few months ago and have been steadily clocking in hours on the cardiovascular equipment. Most of their cardio machines generate electricity and tie back into the electrical grid. So, every step I take generates a bit of power to keep the lights on, the music playing and helps off-set the other machines that use power rather than generate it. All this helps get me up and out but I have a ways to go before I’m exercising enough just to keep my circulation going not to mention actually staying fit.

Make more food.

Since moving away from the delightful three-a-day meals at Sterling College I’ve been very conscious about what meals look like. I’ve made a point of making each of the two meals I eat at work each day from scratch. That looks like a lot of oatmeal with whole milk and flax seeds in the morning and leftovers from the night before for lunch. I rarely eat out as it is and the drive to keep eating whole, simple, healthy foods has kept me at home and in the kitchen even more often. I love craving warm naan and a hot bowl of curry and then finding a recipe and making it myself instead of getting some down the street. I make exceptions for good hash browns and croissants though. Something I’m going to try to make is granola, especially after seeing this picture and reading the recipe:

Click the photo to read the recipe and get inspired too!

On another note, I’m working on cutting all canned foods out of my diet. Grist published an interesting article about and I already make four out of five of the foods on their list from scratch, but I do buy plenty of canned black beans. I never wanted to plan on using beans far enough ahead of time to start soaking them but after realizing that the cans are lined with BPA plastics I just can’t get another can. So, I realized that all I needed to do was change the way I think of dried beans. Instead of a process that I start ten hours before I want to use them in a recipe, I just cooked a large batch over the weekend and stored the cooked beans in the fridge until I want them throughout the week. It’s the same way I think about granola, yogurt and crackers… all foods that I cook in batches and eat over a long period. The only thing I haven’t been able to work around is canned tomatoes.


Yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, ginger ale and sourdough are all on my expanding list of foods that I want to have fermenting around the apartment. I have my Wild Fermentation book and a new ceramic crock ready to go for the sauerkraut and ginger ale. I recently got my  hands on a loaner scale so I can make the sourdough recipe from Tartine again, but this time I’ll have a bit more precision and perhaps more success (all of the recipes are weight based instead of ye olde imprecise cups, teaspoons, tablespoons of most recipes). I’ll be sad when the scale is gone but I’m definitely planning to invest in one of my own ASAP.

Pickles, dilly-beans, maraschino cherries are another beast that I’m getting ready to grapple when their various ingredients come into season.


Most things have been on pause for a long time. I want to go in and dust off my Etsy shop now that I’m back in Portland and feeling inspired. I’m getting tired of seeing things in boutiques and sassing myself with “I could totally make that” snark snark, and then not actually making whatever I was eyeballin’. I’ve joined the whole Pinterest rush and started hoarding even more ideas and lovely photos and now it’s time to get cracking. For example, I’ve been wanting to make some pillows… I’ve got the perfect stitch for the front from Karen Barbe’s blog and even have the inserts just lying around the apartment.

Where are the pillows now, you might ask? Still in my brain, waiting for me to sit down and actually work on them.

So New Year, new tries and fun times.

Oh, and the bunnies are vowing to nap more, cuddle better and stay cute.

A Holiday Preview

Phew! It’s been a busy season and I suspect it will only get zanier later this month. I start putting projects in my “all done!” basket back in July and I’m still working on things every bit of down time that I have. Want to see what I’ve got up my sleeve, on my needles and tucked away for the holiday? Betchya do!

I carved some stamps this past weekend to make wrapping paper. I’m notorious for waiting until the -nth hour to wrap things and then scrambling to fish bits of paper out of the recycling to hastily tie things up in them. In the end, the package doesn’t do justice to what I’m gifting (just take a look at these sew in labels that I think pretty much sum up the sentiment that goes along with hand knit presents). So, this year I’m doing something simple but handmade to wrap those little gems.

Bows! It’s getting cold and I’m wearing more sweaters and heavy jackets. I have a brown wool jacket that I think is lovely, but it covers up anything I’m wearing under it. So, stick a little knit bow to me and I’m a happy camper! Plus it’s knit in a deep purple which makes it look ten times fancier than a fabric bow.

Toasty toasty hat! This one has a folded brim to make the hat fit snugly but not too tightly and gives your ears some extra warmth.

The deer hat! I haven’t blocked it yet, I was just too excited to wait for that extra step. I bought the pattern from Little Owl Knits on etsy and have been waiting until I had enough brown yarn to finish the ears. Gah! It’s too cute.

Some fingerless mittens with a little extra flair.

I knit the Calais Shawl over Thanksgiving and I like the color, but I think I’ll try to nudge it a little closer to blue/grey than green/grey with some kool aid dying this weekend.

I’ve even gotten around to spinning up my stash of Linus wool from his shearing after we move a few months ago! The skein turned out really, really well and it’s all ready to go to it’s new home!

Socks! For myself this time. I’ve had them finished for months now, but I haven’t gotten the chance to wear them yet so they still look perfect. 

Knit sushi! I knit the shrimp and California roll, I think I’ll finish the blob of wasabi and roe roll this weekend and call it good. The shrimp roll looks great and was fun to knit, the California roll… not so much.


And the crown jewel! The Dala Selbu Hybrid mittens. I had to redo a few parts more than a few times but that was just because I insisted on trying to knit these late at night and in the dark. Silly me. But now they’re done and look pretty great!

So that was a smish smash of things in my done-zo basket. I have a few more things on the needles and a handful left to start and then I’m all done with some time to spare.

Garage Sale Extravaganza

We made a trek up to the Expo Center today to see what this “” was all about. Turns out it’s a massive gathering of schmoo that you have to pay far too much to get in to see. Now we know. However, there were two great finds that sort of made everything worth it this time (but never, ever again). One: Sheep skins…  

I got a nice chuckle out of that one. And two: a pretty fantastic framed example of dye plants and the colors they produce.

There are sixteen different plants (I recognize two or three here) that will produce a dye, a little bit of weaving to show the colors in use and, to top it all off, the whole thing has a wonderful wool roving background that all the bits are nestled into. I snatched it up for $10 dollars and have been gloating over it since we got home. The man who was running the booth said that he thought he might have gotten it from one of the entrants at the Oregon Country Fair or something. This is an admirable piece of work, not to mention how well preserved the plants are. Yay!

Oui Presse & the Smile Mug

There has been a discovery made, of sorts. It turns out that there is a coffee shop down the street from our apartment that has the most amazing mocha in all of Portland. They use real chocolate and perhaps even butter? Either way, the effect is something along the lines of a melted bar of chocolate with a dash of coffee which, quite possibly is the most fantastic beverage on a chilly winter day. On one of our jaunts down there I zeroed in on this mug and spent our whole visit clutching it before I decided that I really didn’t want to part with it. Now, it’s my little chai buddy. I love that you have to buoy it up by the ears to drink from it instead of via a handle. If you’re in Portland, want a great mocha and a delightful mug then you should probably pop over to Oie Presse, maintenant.