Monthly Archives: June 2016

Socks I Can’t Seem to Part With…

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I admit it…I’m kind of a sock geek. Remember Sox Appeal? I was a regular. Smartwool? Still asking for a pair every holiday season whenever stumped gift givers prompt me for requests. So when I wear holes in a favorite pair, I’m always a little reluctant to part with them. Instead, I look for ways the socks could be reused.

People know this about me…that I love socks with fun patterns and that I’m likely to come up with something creative to do with them. (In fact a striped socks scarf made it’s way into day 19 of my October craft-a-day project back in 2014!) I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when my friend Jenny gave me a gift bag filled with a few of her favorite, albeit holey, socks. I wasn’t exactly surprised, but I did feel the weight of having to come up with some spectacular way to use this motherlode of Smartwool socks. And this week, I finally had a day to give the socks some thought (I won’t tell you how long I’ve had them!) It turns out, there are many, many ways to keep those striped or pretty-patterned socks in your daily rotation.

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Arm Warmers

The first project is pretty easy, and it wasn’t new to me. A few years back I simply cut the feet from a pair of much-loved, striped knee-highs and wore the “legs” as boot toppers or arm warmers. If you’ve not yet discovered arm warmers, I recommend checking them out. In cooler climes, arm warmers make it possible to continue wearing favorite short-sleeve and three-quarter sleeve T-shirts well into winter. I never did finish off that ragged, cut edge on the original knee-high warmers, so I finally did that on Monday. A zig-zag stitch, twice around right along the edge gave these a pleasing lettuce-edge finish. Then I patched together three pairs from the magic bag of socks to make the fetching arm warmers at top. This time I used a top cuff at both ends for a nice finished edge.

Phone Case

But enough about arm warmers. What about a slip case for your phone. Right? Again, I found myself rummaging through the bag. A blue and gray striped (stripes, of course!) pair caught my eye. I trimmed the case up with a few strands of this darling charcoal gray tiny pom-pom trim that I couldn’t resist at Target a couple of months ago. I added a flap made from the top of the sock’s foot with a little velcro to keep it shut. And I made the last-minute decision not to sew the back of the flap closed, leaving a little pocket for cash or a credit card.

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Mittens!

Now for the grand finale. I just had to do something with these two pairs of socks. They went together so well!

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So I cut off the feet and began moving the parts around on my desk.

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Are you seeing what I’m seeing? (I know, I know. I already said I’m a sock geek, so bear with me….I love this part…)

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Mittens, of course! I’ve not yet had a chance to get back to my sewing machine to stitch these up, but the concept is there. I used the tops of the feet for the thumbs, and I’ll snip a slit in the patterned maroon section for placement. I think this might be my favorite use for old socks, but stay tuned…it’s all in how you finish.

Stay tuned for more ways to repurpose discarded socks and other items from around the house. In fact, many of these projects will be included in an forthcoming craft book for teens that I’m pretty excited about. Details to come! Until then, keep crafting!

Rhubarb Season

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We’re nearing the end of Rhubarb season, a time of year I always look forward to in the garden. Most years, on Memorial Day weekend, I make the same Rhubarb pie recipe from the original Martha Stewart Cookbook. One of the reasons I’m so fond of the recipe is because it includes cardamon (a heaping tablespoon of it, if you can believe it!) and orange zest. It’s delicious, and it  never fails to impress, but this year I also wanted to branch out a bit and try something new.

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My plan was to make jam, and at some point I still want to do that–I had an amazing Rhubarb Pineapple jam at the Birchwood last week that was to die for–but I got sidetracked. It was the happiest of detours, actually. I was exchanging emails with my uncle when he asked if there was a recipe for potato pancakes in my grandmother’s recipe box. Ah, yes, the family recipe box.

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When my grandmother died three years ago this past January, I offered to scan the recipes and share them with the family. Well, I haven’t gotten around to doing that quite yet (she says sheepishly). In all honesty, I had kind of forgotten I had this treasure trove of culinary family history. But his request sent me rifling through the box in search of the recipe, which, alas, was not to be found. What I did find, though, were at least a half dozen recipes involving rhubarb, including one for rhubarb muffins.

My kiddos love muffins for breakfast, and so do I. It’s not always easy to get my boys moving in the morning, but the promise of homemade muffins never fails to draw them out of bed. With a crunchy, cinnamon-sugar topping that gives way to sweet-tart bits of rhubarb, these did the trick alright. And best of all, I had rediscovered my grandmother’s recipe stash, which of course reminded me of her. Most of the recipes are hand-typed, and I can almost picture her, leaned over her trusty typewriter, reading glasses on and white-out at the ready, meticulously typing her favorite recipes onto index cards. The recipes are not in any particular order. Favorite Coffee Cake is followed by Pork and Sauerkraut Casserole. But what I love about my grandma’s recipe box is that she keeps coming back to desserts, especially pies, which are liberally sprinkled throughout. This is my kind of recipe box! Someday I’m going to circle back and make her black-raspberry pie, our sweet reward for braving the mosquitos and thorns to gather enough fruit for the filling.

For now, though, here’s her recipe for Rhubarb Muffins. Enjoy!

1 1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c. salad oil

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 1/2 c. diced rhubarb

1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

2 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. With a spoon, stir in rhubarb and nuts. Combine flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into rhubarb mixture until just blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about 2/3 full.

Topping

1 tsp. melted butter

1/3 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix butter, sugar and cinnamon for topping. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes.

 

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